How to Have Family Meetings With Heart
“It turns out that the Family Meeting provided both the emotional and logistical anchor that our chaotic family didn’t even realize was missing.”
Wow, that’s a powerful line, huh?
We recently did an interview with Laura Gassner Otting for our podcast (ep coming in the months to come!) in which she talked about the importance of her family meetings. And all of us on the call were like, wait, what? — tell us more about this!
And so she shared with us this post she wrote: “The One Meeting You Need to Add to Your Calendar.” And I’ve gotta say, it’s brilliant. It’s heart-forward, it’s real, it’s actionable — and, it’s funny. She not only makes a case for having family meetings, but she also shares the exact agenda and framework her family uses for theirs — with examples.
Now, my daughter probably isn’t quite old enough yet to sit down and talk logistics and long-range planning with my husband and me, but she certainly has the capacity to air gratitude and grievances — and probably can come up with some values (although they might revolve around Ghostbusters, cupcakes and poopy butts).
And, really, I’d love to add a structured and regular part of our week so that she (and the twins once they’re here and get older!) not only hear us talk about being kind and compassionate and conscious — but that we actually practice it in a consistent way that we all can see, feel, and learn from. Not to mention, it gives everyone a chance to be vulnerable and share feelings — parents included.
We all get so busy and this seems like a genius way to slow down, listen, and take stock of what’s important.
LGO wraps up her piece nicely with this:
“The bottom line is this: it hasn’t made me the perfect parent, but it’s made me a real parent. My kids get to see how hard I work towards my personal and professional goals. They get to see my husband and I communicate about what matters to us. They get to feel like valued and important contributors to our family. It roots us in our united front, and a feeling that we are all on the same side. Mistakes can happen because there is a loving forum for forgiveness and discussion. That agency and purpose and play can be part of all aspects of each of our lives.”
LGO, you’re my parenting spirit animal!
Do you have family meetings? Will you start having one? Get the steps to create your own family meeting here, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast (iTunes, Spotify, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher — we’re in all the places) so you don’t miss our episode with her. Also, her new book just dropped and we HIGHLY recommend it! –Jenn
Thank you for your useful stuff. I hope everyone will use this
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