You might have thought we were planning some major project in our lives. You might have thought we were managers in some company meeting to go over goals and plans. You would have been half right and half wrong on both counts.
It was just my wife and I. When the boys were growing up, Jeannie and I would go to our favorite restaurant, pull out our calendars, and make sure we were on the same page with where the boys needed to be and when, who was picking up the dry cleaning and who was getting the groceries, where we were with the budget, and what things around the house needed attention. We were raising twin boys whose energy, if it could have been bottled, would have lit up several small cities. I was the pastor of a growing church and Jeannie was trying to keep everyone sane and well loved.
Her solution? A meeting. Now, the last thing I wanted in my life was another meeting, but she insisted. So, we met. I pulled out my calendar and I told her about my coming week. She pulled out her calendar and told me everything the boys had going on and what she needed to get done. We looked at our budget. We made assignments and planned. We even planned our dates. Most importantly, we got on the same page about our family, one another, and ourselves.
If you listen to most families, they will tell you their biggest problem is communication. They don’t know what’s going on in each other’s lives. They don’t know what’s coming next. The solution? A family meeting.
Think about it. In reality, our families are small businesses. There are goals to achieve, finances to manage, people to lead. Everything a successful business manager has to handle, we have to handle as a family. Would we really think about handling a business this complicated without a meeting? No, we wouldn’t.
So, set a meeting. You and your spouse find a time and set it in concrete. No meeting in your life is more important than this one. Find a comfortable place, (Away from the house is better because there are too many distractions at home.) bring your calendars and other necessary documents, and talk about:
- Where is our family in relation to our goals? Your family doesn’t have goals? Let that be the agenda of your first meeting. Answer questions like, Why does our family exist? What does a successful family look like? Are we getting there? What are our next steps?
- Go over calendars.
- Go over upcoming family events.
- Negotiate assignments. Decide who will do what by when.
- Look at your finances. Do both of you understand the goals you’re trying to attain? Do both of you understand the process you’re using to get there? Do you understand where you are now? If you don’t have a financial plan, that could be the agenda of your next meeting.
- If the children are old enough, make sure they’re part of the meeting. The sooner they understand the processes of running a family and their place in it, the better off they will be.
- Agree when to meet next week.
- The same skills we use every day in our careers (including being a homemaker…especially including homemakers) are the skills we need to make our families function as efficiently and effectively as possible. It takes both efficiency and effectiveness for a family to work as well as it can.
…And that takes a meeting.