Family AM Meeting

200px-flanders_familyThis week I came to conclusions. The most important of which is that I am on my way to being a parent with a lot of regret. I think that I have neglected the importance and value of the family and my role as a leader in it. One of the first things I thought about doing is creating a medium that would be versatile and include the entire family. So, I decided to to a morning meeting with the whole family. Kami and I went out on a date night to discuss the idea behind it and figure out how to practically make it work. This part was a (expletive)ing nightmare.  We stay up late, the kids stay up late, every morning is a mad dash to get to wherever and chaos is god. Trying to fit in a centralized time for a family of 6 ranging from 2-29 was not simple or easy. It came down to this. Kami and I agreed that for now it needs to happen and that we should be prioritzing it. This means that other values would need to shift around it.

Here are my goals for the meeting:

  • We would have a centralized place where the family can share daily goals and be supported by eachother in those goals on a daily basis
  • We would come to have a more centralized vision and purpose as a family
  • As a family we would learn and celebrate the importance of worship and prayer.

So far, this is what the meeting have looked like:

  • 10 minutes  – singing and discussing a worship song
  • 15 minutes  – sharing about our previous day and discussing our plans and goals for the current day. This has been an important time for Kami and I to include the kids in what we are doing. In stead of just disappearing off to “work” I have been sharing with them more of what my day looks like and why we do what we do. Who we are meeting with etc.
  • 5 minutes – Prayer for each other.

This whole thing really felt like we are the Flanders family from the Simpsons but I am pretty excited about the potential that it offers. I think we will be doing it 4 days a week for a while and see if it is accomplishing what we want it to. I’m interested, does anyone have any experience or ideas about this type of thing. We are completely new and would love to get some input or ideas from a family that has succeeded in having a unified vision.

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19 thoughts

  1. That’s cool. It was awesome to come over the other day and hear you guys worshiping as a family downstairs.

    I imagine that this is about as soon as you would have been able to pull something like this off, in regards to the ages of the kids. But I’m glad you’re starting now, rather than later.

    Make sure you have all the bugs worked out by the time my kids are older.

    1. steph, those aren’t time assignments. those are just what our meetings loosely looked like this week. i imagine it will be changing. how long/often have you done this? do you guys cover anything else in your meetings?

  2. We’ve always done it because I work and so I really want to be sure we connect and have time together. I also need lots of time by myself and I feel really guilty about that so to alleviate some guilty we make sure we hang out as a family every day, all in the lying-around-in-the-same-room context, talking about all the stuff you mentioned and making sure the kids don’t feel like David or I are in a rush to run off somewhere.

  3. Great stuff. For us, this sort of thing is our dinner table experience. Every day at dinner is when we discuss how our days were, what we did, why we did it, why we would do things differently, etc.

    Later in the evening we have our “bible time” where we have more focused things which include: a catechism for the kiddos, discussion/questions from daily bible reading, and time for specific prayer as a family. One thing we never really do in that time is sing. We sing constantly in the car together but maybe I should spring the guitar on the fam sometime.

    Ben, thanks for sharing these types of things.

  4. Here’s what Stacie and I started with our family a few months ago. Sunday mornings about a 1/2 hour, we call it Family Sabbath Worship. Sunday evenings – Family Business time. No space to elaborate here, but they are basically what they sound like.

    One thing that I think we’ll tweak soon is to transition our attempts at a teaching/catechetical time from the mornings to the Sunday evening Family Business times. The boys were getting weary in the Sunday morning times.

    We have informal family connection time throughout the week, but for me at this time, the idea of a formal family meeting most every day of the week feels overwhelming.

  5. dude, you have a way of bringing up things that we’re lacking in..that’s a good thing, cause we’re pretty busy and reactionary in some ways instead of pro-active especially in setting time specifically aside to goal set as a family. anyway, we stay up late, and our kids stay up late cause i think mainly if we’re gonna stay up late and the kids go to bed early then they’re getting up early and we lack sleep and energy, so if they stay up w/us and we’re engaging as a family instead of from dinner til bed, 2 or 3 hours it never seems like enough.

    anyway, thanks for the nudge we get so focused on trying to keep our eyes set on Jesus and checking our hearts and motives, the ‘other’ job we’ve been given is to raise these little one’s up in Him and His truth.

    our kids too are just coming out of toddler-isk ages, so now is a better time than any to really evaluate and ensure we’re not just repeating what we’ve seen, but rather asking God how we show them real reasons we love and need Him.

    look forward to hanging w/you guys soon and to hearing how all goes in the Crawford home w/the shift.

    peace,
    dan & heather
    (heather typing, daniel heather conversing) 😉

  6. Ben,

    Great concept…sounds like things are working well.

    If you find that mornings are a bit much (especially as your kids get older), you can always do this around the dinner table – like Mike mentioned. That’s how things worked at our house. We talked about our day, what was on the agenda for tomorrow, and it was also a great way for us kids to share what our experiences were like while we were gone at school. There were no specific topics that had to be discussed, but most of my fondest memories – and greatest learning – took place at dinner time.

    Don’t beat yourself up to make this happen…your heart is in the right place and the Lord will certainly open up windows of time for this to happen…whether it’s four days a week in the morning or while you all are up late at night playing. 🙂

  7. Hey Ben,
    Jon told me that I should read this post of yours.
    I’m encouraged to hear that you are creating structure and space for your family to connect. From my work, I often hear about how parent’s don’t value and respect their kids thoughts and feelings (usually when it differs from the parents). I admire your honesty about your parenting regrets and actions of change. I think the world would be a better place if we could be honest of our shortcomings….and have faith to make changes. It’s inspiring to hear you and Kami do both.

  8. hey everybody, thanks for the feedback. yeah, typical family dinner time seems so un-real to us. I don’t know if we’ve ever had a dinner where we sit around the table. I always think about that scene from American Beauty when he throws the carrots or peas against the wall and then sits down and asks his daughter how her day at school was.

    bottom line though is that the reason why i reverted to am meetings is because our family is completely out of control when it comes to this type of thing happening organically. hopefully someday it will just happen.

    jason, kami and i both felt overwhelmed at the thought of this but i think at this point we are more being driven by a desperation.

    twest. that’s funny that you bring up that blog. if you were indeed serious these facts may interest you:
    1. i linked to that blog for the first time ever in this very post where it says “date night”
    2. we are pretty good friends with the author
    3. her husband works for me. (how do you make the winking symbol with pluses and minus signs )

  9. Ben, if you say you and Kami feel overwhelmed by the thought of making this a priority, do you think having more kids will help or just be non-consequential? Just a thought.

  10. stephy, i doubt having more kids will help, although, in one sense, it does kind of kick my butt into motivation. in some ways i don’t feel like the biggest quantifiable measurement is the number of kids but more my maturity or the maturity of kami and i as parents. so in one sense it’s kind of strange because it feels like it would be easier than ever to expand the family because i feel like we have been growing in our maturity. don’t know if that makes sense?

  11. And as far as it kicking your butt into being motivated, is that really a good reason to have more? To gain some motivation? And do you feel you truly have the resources? (emotional, physical, maturity, etc.) Just some questions that I think are really important to consider.

  12. s –
    i don’t really consider it “stressful” but i think that the thought of having a structured meeting was “overwhelming” in that is as adding more structure and that can be an interesting transition for us who resist structure.

    i don’t really think that kicking our “butt to be motivated” is a good reason to have more. i think it’s more of a side effect. kind of like when my daughter turned 7 and i was like “oh crap, i have a 7 year old and there’s all these things i haven’t done.” I could have done them earlier and i shouldn’t have waited until she was 7 to realize it but, nonetheless, her turning 7 provided a certain degree of motivation. the more kids we have the more i realize i need to take things seriously.

    and as far as having the resources….that’s a tough question. most days yes. some days no. i feel like we have 10X the resources of when we were pregnant with our first.

  13. since you guys started your meetings i’d say i feel about 500% better about our days. 450% of that is because i know everyone is going to be awake at starting time and 50% of it is from being happy that you are investing in your family in ways other than financially every day instead of just on saturdays.

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