Spiritual Sunday: Family Council Meetings

The Beginner’s Guide to Family Council Meetings.

Happy Sunday everyone.

So I guest posted on the lds.org website last month all about family council meetings.  Family council meetings are particularly relevant and so, so helpful for marriages so I’m going to re-post it here for my monthly Spiritual Sunday post.

Even though it is on the lds.org site, the advice certainly isn’t LDS specific.  Family council meetings don’t discriminate- they welcome all 😉

But first a break down of some Mormon lingo for those of you not accustomed- every six months our church holds a general conference where our prophet and apostles give talks.

In one talk by an apostle named Russel M Ballard last April, he spoke about the many blessings of holding family council meetings.

He outlined four types of family council meetings- one with the whole family, one with you and your spouse, one with you, your spouse and one child and one with just you and one child.   Read his talk here.

In my post, I offer some sample outline questions for each type.  I’ve loved having these councils and definitely think they have made for a more loving, closer connected family and marriage.

family council meeting

Here’s the beginning of my post:

If you’re anything like me, when you heard Elder Ballard’s conference talk outlining four different types of family councils, a little part of you went, “Sigh. ANOTHER thing to add to our family’s schedule?”  Between soccer games and dance classes, FHE, mutual and other church activities, adding even one more thing can seem deflating.

However, the more I thought about it, the more those promised blessings were a little too hard to pass up:

“. . . family council held regularly will help us spot family problems early and nip them in the bud; councils will give each family member a feeling of worth and importance; and most of all they will assist us to be more successful and happy in our precious relationships, within the walls of our homes.”

Solving our family’s problems before they start? Helping each child to feel important? An actionable solution for keeping my family my main focus when there are a million other things competing for it?

Yes, please.

I’m in.

We decided to give these family councils a shot. In trying to decide how we want ours to look exactly, we’ve come up with a list of questions to guide each different type, so we’d have some structure. We don’t use all the questions every time. We usually just stick to one or two, after that the kids lose interest. I’ll include our lists here. If you are struggling to know how to structure your family councils, feel free to pick a few questions from our list and experiment with which ones work the best for your family.

1.  Full Family Councils

In addition to his most recent conference talk, Elder and Sister Ballard participated in this really helpful Q & A session about family councils back in 2003.  He says,

“I think of the traditional definition that says a family council is a time when a father and mother sit down and go through a list of dos and don’ts with their children. I was never able to make it work that way. I found that when the list came out, it turned the children off. So I tried bringing up a specific problem—such as the garden needs weeding—and then simply asked the family, ‘What can we do about it? What are your ideas?’

A council is when parents let their children help solve the problem. And when everyone agrees to a solution, everyone will have ownership of the problem.”

There you have it. The most important priority of our family councils is facilitating open and candid conversation in order to solve each other’s problems.

I’ve honestly been stunned at how helpful this council has been for me as a mother. For instance, I can say, “Hey no one is helping me get dinner on the table! Come set the table!” which is met with grudging, slow “helpers.” Or during family council I can express honestly how it makes me feel when I’m stressed as I run around trying to finish cooking, set the table and hold our two-year-old. When I explain my feelings and ask if anyone has any ideas, I’m always surprised at how anxious to help out my children are. (“I could help set the table! I can hold the baby!”) It’s definitely a better way to parent.

Read the rest here.

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