I discovered this old yellow notebook with the words Family Mtgs. scrawled near the top. Upon seeing it, my heart warmed and a smile appeared, as memories of days-gone-by flooded my mind. Opening the notebook to the first page I discovered the following information:
Family Meeting – June 28, 1992
President – Dad & Paul
V. President – Daniel
Secretary – Mom & Steph
Police Officer – Drew
I laughed out loud at that last line…Police Office – Drew. Being the youngest, he was the typical clown when it came to family times together. As family meetings evolved, we created a position where he had some responsibility over the others. It was our ploy to keep him “in check” throughout the meeting. What’s more… it worked!! He really believed he had authority to “enforce” quietness when needed, or cheering when called for. (I kind of think he still believes this.) At one meeting he arrived toting handcuffs….. just in case he needed them to enforce the rules!
The idea of having Offices like President and V. President happened accidentally at one of our first meetings. We called the children together and told them we were having a family meeting … and they weren’t in trouble. Some one of them asked, “Oh are we electing offices like President, Secretary…… and…. so we did! They loved it and so did we!
In 1992 our son Dan would have been 15 years old, our daughter Steph, 12, Paul 10 and our youngest, Drew, would have been 6 1/2. We started holding family meetings in order to involve the kids in the process of decision-making on things like vacations, chore distribution, family night activities and fund-raising for some of the extra-curricular activities we wanted to do as a family.
At this (recorded) meeting, we opened in prayer and discussed the summer schedule in regard to morning wake-up times, family breakfasts (which included “older” child-led devotions), summer bedtime schedules, and new chore assignments due to summer’s arrival. This particular meeting seemed focused on what we wanted to do as a family on the 4th of July. There were many ideas offered with an agreeable decision made by the end of the meeting.
I don’t know how long we continued family meetings as our schedules grew busier and the kids grew older, but I do know they served to knit us together in purpose and direction. They helped us learn to discuss ideas in a respectful manner, without arguments (or else the police officer might haul you off to jail). We worked together on a family garage sale to raise money for one of the kids’ programs at our church, we decided as a family where we wanted to go on vacation that summer, we held each other accountable to various age-appropriate responsibilities. And we had fun together!
There are only a few of the meetings recorded in my yellow notebook, but they serve as a great reminder… that our life lived together …. really worked!