by Mark Timm, CEO Ziglar FAmily
Have you felt it yet in your neck of the woods— that gradual change in temperature that makes the evenings feel a little bit chilly?
Our family loves when fall arrives, because with it comes our other favorite season – S’more Season!
We have a fire pit in our back yard, and when the temperatures drop, it’s only a matter of time until one of the kids asks, “When can we have a S’moregasboard bonfire?”
Let me give you some background.
If you’ve been a follower of Ziglar Family and this blog for a while, then you know that my family relies on weekly family meetings to keep our life mostly organized running smoothly.
In the early days of implementing these meetings, we realized that the kids weren’t totally buying in, so we resorted to a little, well, bribery.
One week in early fall, we decided to move our family meeting outside around the bonfire, turning it into a “perfect s’more” contest… and we really went all-in!
In addition to the traditional marshmallows, Hershey Bars, and graham crackers, we set out other ingredients, like peanut butter, fruit, Heath Bars, Reese’s Cups, chocolate chip cookies…even gummy worms!
With my wife, Ann, being dedicated to our family’s healthy living and eating, you can imagine what a special treat this crazy sugar fest was — and everyone had a blast!
In fact, adding an element of fun to our weekly family meetings — as opposed to keeping it strictly business —has become something that we try to incorporate regularly. It’s something everyone can participate in, like making something crafty, or even trying something they’ve never done, like playing a new board game.
If the concept of family meetings is new to you, let me share a few of the benefits our family has enjoyed over the past several years of committing to our regular weekly family time:
- We get on the same page. Many families get so busy that they can’t find time to talk with one another face-to-face so that everyone knows what’s happening and when. As a result, they end up with a lot of confusion and chaos that could have been avoided.
- We get rid of surprises. By holding our family meetings every Sunday evening, we can focus on everyone’s schedules for the upcoming week. If the kids don’t tell us about something on their schedule, we’re not accountable to them as parents to make sure it happens. (Of course, we have teenagers — this would be more flexible with younger kids.)
- We enjoy sharing. Sometimes kids just want to be heard. In our family, they can request dedicated agenda time in the meeting. This way, they don’t have to fight for a chance to communicate.
- We laugh at ourselves. Our meetings offer a chance for us, as parents, to be vulnerable with our children. We laugh at ourselves and give them a chance to laugh with — and sometimes at — us in a good-natured way.
- We find agreement on key decisions. We want our children to have a voice in key family decisions, so we allow them to give as much input as possible. (We do, of course, keep veto power!)
- We spotlight and reward good behavior. In fact, it’s a critical part of every meeting to celebrate one another’s successes.
If you’d like to know more about starting this important practice in your family, you can read more about it in this blog post.
And if you’d like to receive a free, downloadable sample agenda for these family meetings, just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “Agenda” in the subject line, and I’ll be glad to send it to you right away!
Be sure to comment below with your thoughts. Do you have regular family meetings? If so, what are some of your best practices? I look forward to reading your ideas!