Today is Family Meeting and since some of you have asked about it, I will tell you how it works for us. We have tried other things in the past, but this is what works best for us and our family.
We usually have our family meetings on the first Sunday of the month, but since we have small group Bible study tomorrow, we are going to have our meeting this evening.
We take turns picking the restaurant where we will go. This is usually the only time during the month that we go out to eat, so whoever's turn it is gets to pick their favorite place as long as it is is conducive to our family meeting. The only requirements are that there is something for everyone, it is kid friendly, not too loud or busy and preferably has a booth for us to sit in. (It is much easier to keep the little ones corralled in booths as opposed to table and chairs.)
We always start with a prayer to ask for guidance and open minds and we begin.
Our meetings are places where anyone in the family can say anything that is on their mind in a safe, neutral environment. That is why we choose to go out instead of stay home where there are too many distractions. Of course, no one is allowed to say mean or hurtful things.
Throughout the rest of the month, the notebook stays in a specific spot in the house on a shelf where anyone can get it down and write things in it that they want to address at the meeting. So, we start the meeting by going through that list one by one and addressing the issues of the previous month.
For example, the list could read like this:
Elizabeth: I want to stay after school.
Mom: Elizabeth is not finishing her chores
Mom + Dad: Elizabeth and Jo are fighting too much
Dad: I want to buy a memory chip for my PSP
Mom and Dad: Bedtimes for the kids
...things like that.
So then, we will write:
1. Elizabeth can stay after school on......if she does......
2. If Elizabeth does not finish her chores, then....
..and so on until we get through the list. Of course, the list can also include fun things like:
Summer Vacation Ideas
Birthday Party Ideas
Ideas for fun outings with Elizabeth and her friends
Once we get through our list and get through anything else that we want to discuss, we're done!
But the great thing is that it is all written down. If there are any questions about what was discussed or the decisions that were made, all we have to do is look back in the book.
No, Elizabeth. Bedtime is 10PM, not 10:30. Go check in the book.
We also have chore charts for Elizabeth so that she can earn the money that she needs to buy gifts for people or buy extra things for herself or to save for something.
This is what the chore chart looks like. She has a new one every week, and each job is assigned a value per time it is completed, and she gets a sticker on the chart for each job completed per day. At the end of the week, the stickers are counted and she is paid the money that she earns. Then, if there are extra jobs that I want her to do, such as wash the car or clean the fans and windows, then they are written at the bottom under 'Extra Jobs for This Week' and assigned a price and a date due. If they are completed by the date due, then she gets paid. If they are not, then she doesn't and she loses the opportunity to earn the extra income. The reason we decided to do it that way was because she would not do the work until she needed money for something and then she would be trying to do a lot of extra jobs to get extra money. But we put the jobs on the chart because we need them done when we put them on there, not when she needs/wants the money!
This does not mean that these are all the things she is responsible for. She is also responsible for being a helpful part of the family unit, but she needs to have some of her own money, and rather than just give her cash, Jimmy and I figured that it would be better for her to start now to learn the whole concept of you work to get paid. No work, no pay.
Then, we close the meeting by starting a new page and putting the name of the person who gets to choose next and having desert!
Oh, and the guy next door. About him. Well, it's just really weird. He is always coming home. I mean, every time we see him, he is arriving from somewhere.
So, the question is:
Where does he go?
How does he get there?
Why do we NEVER see him leave the house...only return?
Does he have a secret passage out of his house that undergrounds him to another place so that he can constantly return?
Ok. That's it for today. Enjoy your weekend.
Oh....one last thing...Elizabeth says that I never appear in the family meeting log.
It's because I'm perfect, of course! ; )