Each week our family has family meetings, or family councils. We use this time to check up on the family; on how well we are maintaining the right spirit of the home, and on how well our family is using it’s system of family government.
During a recent family meeting we decided to discuss how our family did during the past year. We each took turns recounting the three best things and the three worst things which happened to each person during the past year. At first the children had a hard time remembering past last week, so I said I would go first. I sat there for a minute and thoguht out loud.
I quickly remembered through many experiences which happened throughout the year and then finally narrowed down my list to my top three things. After I showed my children how to remember through a year and select a meaningful event, they were excited to give it a try too. They got so excited in fact that some of them had five bests and worsts.
I really thought they would all come up with the same things I had just mentioned to them, but they didn’t. They all chose very different and individual things. The conversation went on for a long time. We usually try to keep out family meetings to 20 minutes so that no one gets bored or put out, but this conversation was so engaging that a good 45 minutes went by without anyone even noticing.
The conversations about the worst started transitioning into great teaching moments and goal setting for the next year. Great teaching was happening, and everyone was excited about it. We were all praising each other’s accomplishments and offering support for each other’s failures too. It was very united moment.
While watching the family engage in memories of the year and talk about why the memories really were the best and why some were the worst and what could be learned from those I realized we were doing something really important for making strong families. We were looking deeper. Life on the surface can seem pretty mundane and pointless from time to time, but if you really take time to analyze the day to day adventures you will find there is more depth in the day to day than you ever knew before.
Isn’t this the very reason we are told to keep journals? Once a pen is put to paper, or the fingers start clicking the keyboard then the soul opens up and the spiritual eyes, the ones which see truth, can see much more clearly the important lessons of life.
Likewise for families, couldn’t one of the reasons we are counseled to have family councils be that our families need to regularly document progress so that a deeper look can be taken and more learning can happen within the heart of the family too? A home has a collective spirit which governs the feelings of the group. If this spirit is not healthy all the relationships in the home will suffer. By taking a deeper look in family meetings each week a family is able to catch problems, notice failures, renew healthy goals, praise successes, see what works, and learn from the best and worst of each week.
Each year people around the world set resolutions for themselves. It is great that they have taken the time to take a good honest look at themselves and make changes. I suggest that each family group also take an annual deep look and then weekly deep looks into the soul of the family to make sure things are running smoothly and that everyone is going in the same direction. It’s never too late to start regular family meetings. They don’t need to be long and they should be enjoyable. If your family meetings are not enjoyable, the book Parenting A House United can help. I have written a whole paragraph on family meetings with useful helps.
Another great suggestion for looking deeper into the family is keeping a family journal. President Eyring starting keeping a family journal for his family years ago and has now even kept up a daily family journal which is sent out via email to all his family. I am inspired by this focus on keeping the family united and going in the same direction.
May God bless you all this new year in your efforts to strengthen your families and by so doing strengthen the world.
Happy New Year!