The New Year is officially here which means that we are reflecting, rethinking and preparing for change, adjustments or just something new.  For my family the New Year is highlighted by facilitating a productive family meeting.  I wish I could take the credit for this awesome idea but the yearly family meeting was part of the Ford DNA.

Danger, danger…..

Now I know what you’re thinking,…”this sounds absolutely dreadful” and as a 13 year old I felt the same way. However, the older I get and especially now that I’m a wife and mom I see its value and importance.  So let’s get going!

Rethinking the Purpose

The purpose of the family meeting according to Felicia: a time for members of the family to discuss their goals, expectations and thoughts both collectively and individually.

Steps for a productive family meeting

Prayer

Prior to getting started with an agenda, objectives or opinions start the family meeting with prayer.  It doesn’t have to be long!  Just a time to give thanks for the previous year and to ask for wisdom for the new year.  As a family, our goal is to His will first and allow Him to get the glory out of our lives.  What better way to start the year off than with prayer.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.”  Matthew 6:33

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  Matthew 18: 19-20

Set a specific date and time

You want make sure that every member of the family is aware of the family meeting.  This creates a layer of accountability and removes the element of surprise.  It allows time for everyone to process the purpose of the meeting.  In addition, each family member can begin to think about what they will bring to the discussion because everyone’s voice is valuable.

Remove distractions

The family meeting is a time for dialogue and engagement as a group of people living under one roof.  In order to set the atmosphere for a productive meeting all distractions must be removed.  I challenge you to silence your cell phone and place it in another room.  Turn off the TV, Alexa playing music in the background and lock all tablets.  You want this to be an electronics free zone!

Set an agenda

One of my favorite quotes is preparation has never lost time.  Whoever will be leading the meeting should spend some time thinking about the objectives and goals.  While there will be time for organic conversation, the goal is to make sure that all the big areas are addressed.  What are the big areas?  Marriage, parenting, religion, finances, education, career.  Feel free to add other areas based on your family’s needs.  An agenda will help you set the framework for each area.

Set goals

Once the agenda is set and you are ready to meet make sure that you outline goals for each area.  These goals should be realistic, attainable and thoughtful.  In addition, make sure that your categorize them as short-term, midterm or long term.  Goals that are defined and categorized have a greater chance of being attained.

Schedule a follow up

Now that you have successfully concluded your first family meeting of the new year what’s next?  A family meeting follow up.  It is important to check in with one another to provide feedback and encouragement.  Lastly, it creates an environment of accountability which leads to a continued push to reach the family goals.

Be an emphatic listener

An emphatic listener is someone who listens with compassion.  They seek to understand before they seek to be understood.  This is a great technique to employ because it allows for all members of the family to be heard, provide input and suggestions in a welcoming environment.  As a result the meeting tends to be more pleasant and productive.

Final Thoughts

I hope that these tips will help you and your family start the New Year off strong!  Be intentional, show love and encourage one another.  We wish you the best in 2020!!

Felicia Tucker

Hi, my name is Felicia Tucker and I am a wife and mom of three. My world consists of fostering a healthy marriage and nurturing my children while integrating that into my career. It is never a dull moment! I am learning how to enjoy the small moments, not sweat the small stuff and go to sleep with the toys strewn over the living room floor.

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