When I first heard of a family meeting my initial reaction was to question the whole thing. "So you want me to ask my husband to have meetings where we discuss our family like a business?" ... HMMM
What do I do when he laughs at me for even bringing this up? Well, newsflash. He did not laugh because he has a very business brain he was all for it. I did not mention right away that we would be coming up with a family mission statement too.
So how do you plan a family meeting and what does it look like.
Below I have included a real sample of what our family meeting agenda looks like. I did not make it up for the blog; this is what we do about twice a month on Saturday mornings.
For your first meeting, you want to update the template below to meet what makes sense for your family. You want to be prepared and take it seriously just like you would for any other meeting. You also want to have an idea of what your mission statement should be but don't write it all out yourself. The mission statement should be a joint effort so that it holds meaning for the entire family.
Step One: Mission Statement
Family Mission Statement:
Say it out loud when you start your family meeting. This encourages engagement, and you will probably not get it right the first time. We have edited ours every time we have a meeting. It is a work in progress, but like all mission statements, there will come a time where it is perfect, and the whole family will know it and live by it. It will be your north star.
We are committed to set examples of love, character, and fun. By building our community and our home, we welcome all who enter our lives.
We make this our daily reality through:
• Balancing life and work
• Finding a way to make a difference
• Lessening our impact on the environment
• Living into our top priorities of leadership, living with passion, compassion, and fun.
• Creating a home environment that is a place full of great examples, laughter, understanding, and patience.
• Encouraging and supporting each other by listening, connecting, and making time for each other.
• Treating each other with love and expecting the best of each other.
Step Two: Sync Calendars
Once we review our mission statement, we move to sync calendars. Most families have one or both spouses traveling consistently. Taking the time to sync calendars helps to prevent potential calendar blunders.
Sit with your planners or computers open to write upcoming travel for each partner. Don't just write it down on paper have calendars ready. The likelihood of such paper making it to a calendar later is slim and will make this exercise pointless.
What to include in your synced calendars:
o Upcoming Travel
o Upcoming Babysitter Needs
o Upcoming Events for your children
o Upcoming Parties or invites
o Possible Weekend ideas
o Date night
o Personal time (for each spouse)
Step Three: Family Review and Retrospective:
This one is my favorite because it helps to avoid fights. We are all human and things bother us, and they usually bother us a little, and it begins to escalate until it bothers us a lot. If we have a safe space to discuss the little things, we can avoid the big ones.
What to review:
o What worked well in our family this week?
o What went wrong in our family this week?
• Home made power bars
(I left our list in because it does not have to be big things. My husband loves snacks especially cookies. When I forget to get cookies, he feels like I only pick up what I like at the grocery store and forget about him. I know he can go too but that point we all want to feel noticed. So include the little things so that we don't create big things in our relationships)
o What will we work on this coming week?
Step Four: Money
Discussing money can be tough for many couples, but it is so important. When we are clear about our finances, there are so many headaches we can avoid.
o New cell phone plan
o Cutting Dish
o Life Insurance
o Upcoming big bills
o Home Improvements?
Fifth part: Requests.
This is just where the meeting is an open forum and everyone can add to the list including the kids. Our daughter is three and she is usually in the same room with us when we have our meeting. At this point, we bring her close and ask her what she would like to add. It is usually something like gummies or a dolly. I think it is good to include kids. They need to see all sides of mom and dad and how what they do to work on a healthy relationship.
We usually close the meeting with a big family hug and a feeling that we are on the right track. I can't tell you what a difference family meetings have made in our lives, and I hope that it does the same in yours.
Want to try and create your family meeting? Click here to download our template.