Parents' Corner Wednesdays: Family Meetings
Are Family Meetings Necessary?
In my family I remember sitting amongst the elders, more specifically my grandparents as they shared stories of old; oftentimes with life lessons tucked in the most intricate details. Those family gatherings where everyone gathered at the dinner table may have been taken for granted as a child, but boy do I treasure those moments now. I remember learning much more than manners at the dinner table. I learned the purpose of serving another not because it was expected or out of obligation, but out of love and consideration. I learned to listen and observe just as much as I talked, if not more. It was in the company of my elders that I learned about marriage, faith, love, the value of hard work, the importance of keeping your word, history (the history often not told by our history books), educational opportunities, trades, military service, homeopathic remedies, gardening, conserving energy, and the list goes on.
No, these weren't called family meetings in my day, they just happened and were normal in my grandparents household. The things that were not shared by my grandparents were shared by my aunts, uncles, and older cousins. I remember thinking that this was common until I became an adult and moved away from home.
My time as a mental health tech, cna, and now a social worker and mom of 4 boys, has reminded me of the importance of those "talks." Those talks are actually what prepared me for this field without even knowing it. Unfortunately, this is a day in age where listening and communication is considered a skill and not an everyday occurrence.
How would things change in your household if these "talks" or family meetings/gatherings occurred more often and not just when someone is in trouble? I asked the question are family meetings necessary. Only you know what's going on in your household. Maybe these meetings occur in your household everyday as you gather around the breakfast or dinner table and are not called "family meetings." Or maybe these talks happen on an individual level after school, or on the car ride to and from home.
If you were to think of your family unit as an organizational unit, how would you rate the climate of your home? Are the lines of communication broken? Does your family operate as a team with appropriate responsibilities for each role? Are the rules/policies well defined and explained in detail? Are the members of your family unit recognized individually for all that they add to the home and each other?
As parents we leave an imprint on our children whether good or bad and can heavily influence their lives. This is not to say that our children's actions will always reflect all that we've taught them, but it will provide them a foundation that they can build upon. And whether we decide to have those meetings or "talks," the world or life experiences will eventually speak on our behalf.