A few weeks ago, I told Matt that I wanted to start having regular family meetings. I said I wanted to have an agenda and a family credo and snacks. This is exactly the variety of corny/cheesy stuff that Matt instinctively rolls his eyes at and internally GROANS. We’ve both been through way too many corporate team-building sessions with mission statements to be wary of this sort of thing and I get it. But to his credit, he heard me out.
I made the following argument: The kids are getting older. School, activities, friends, devices, etc. are encroaching more on our nuclear family and while that’s not wholly bad, it’s important that we are deliberate about protecting family time. We need to also be deliberate about communicating what values, activities, lessons, etc. are important to us and teaching the kids a few things. To his credit, he saw what a fabulously great idea it was and got on board. 😉
So we schemed about family night. My whole concept in family night draws from a few places, including our Mormon acquaintances who do FHE (Family Home Evening). Though the scriptures and hymns aspect of this never appealed to me, the lessons and structure of it are nice, so we drew from that. We decided we’d make that night payday for the kids allowance, have a treat (we don’t usually allow desserts on weeknights), have some sort of fun family activity and a less “fun” activity or lesson. I am also thinking about giving out “gold stars” to people in the family who do something awesome. I also toyed with demerits but I think we’ll address this with “things we need to discuss.”
We’ve done two full weeks of meetings and it has gone very well.
The first week we discussed a small revamp on the chores/allowances system, paid allowances, came up with what makes our family unique (for the graphic you see above), went on a walk to the park and had lemon cream sodas (also for Matt’s birthday).
This week we went over the graphic I’d made, set summer goals (a vehicle for teaching the kids about goal setting), played a board game and had cookies.
I’ve got lots of topics and activities lined up including the sex talk (and some topics tangential to this including body safety and puberty), money management, ethics questions, building a fairy garden, planting our garden, etc. etc. etc. We also agreed that we’d occasionally throw out the structure and just watch a movie (ride our bikes to a movie) or something similar.
And despite the (internal) eye rolling and groaning, Matt has been a good, active participant and getting into the swing of things very well. He’s a team player all the way.