Sunday 16 February 2014


What to Include in Weekly Family Meeting Night (WFMN)?

Here are some practical ideas gleaned from the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families" by Stephen R. Covey for WFMN. WFMN provides a time to:

1. Create & review family mission statement
2. Plan by going through each person’s plan, goals and activities for the week
3. Review family calendar, syc and resolve scheduling conflicts
4. Plan meals for the week
5. Discuss transportation needs
6. Talk about up-coming school projects
7. Teach a value, read a book a loud and discuss story together
8. Problem-solving, voice concerns, express needs and discuss ideas
9. Have a “Talent Show” for the kids to share their progress with their music or dance lessons
10. Have fun
11. Sing a favorite family song and pray together
12. Share one thing to be grateful for, one thing another family member has done well or one thing especially looking forward to
13. Include a special theme for the week
14. Invite outsiders to enrich the family’s experience
15. Dream together
16. Teach responsibility
17. See a family photo album together.

Elaboration as follows:
1. Create & Review Family Mission Statement
  • Family time provides a great opportunity to discuss and create your family mission statement.
  • Talk about what kind of family you want to be.
  • If you already have a family mission statement, you can periodically review if it is integrated into your lives and if your family is living it.
  • Review the goals to see how everyone has progressed.
  • It can be as simple as, "This week I want to learn how to use the chopsticks." or "I want to learn how to tie the shoelaces." or "I want to master the piece Itsy Bitsy Spider on the piano."
  • Then write down new goals for the next week.

2. Plan
  • Planning is a big part of weekly family time.
  • Try to go over each person’s goals and activities and put them down on magnetic chart that hangs on the door. 
  • Confirm social and family commitments for the coming week.
  • This helps us know what others in the family are doing during the week so that we can support them. 
  • Sign any birthday cards that need to be posted.
  • Plan the activities for the coming spring, summer, autumn or winter and agree on when to take the annual leaves.
3. Review Family Calendar
  • Once you have the activities out on the table, narrow down the list.
  • Choose those activities that everyone thought would be the most fun as obviously you can’t do everything. 
  • Then pull out a huge calendar and plan when the family would do them. Set aside some Saturdays for major daylong activities. 
  • Reserve some weeknights for those that didn’t take as much time. Mark out a week for family vacation at Lake Tahoe. (The children are very excited to see that we have actually planned to do the things that are important to them. The planning made a big difference in their happiness and ours. No longer were they constantly asking when we were going to do something because they knew when we were going to do it. It was on the family calendar. And we held to our plan. We all made it a big priority in our lives. It helped us form a collective commitment and this sense of commitment greatly strengthened and bonded us. This planning also made a big difference to me because it helped me commit to do what I really wanted to do but often didn’t do because of the pressure of the moment.)
  •  Review calendar on upcoming events so everyone would know what was going on.
  • Syc and resolve any scheduling conflicts.

4. Plan Weekly Meals

5. Discuss Transportation Needs

6. Talk about Upcoming School Projects

Get an overview of the upcoming school projects and schedule separate time to attend to it.

7. Teach Values
  • Have a short lesson and a family activity and serve refreshments.
  • For example, read a chapter of a book out loud together or to each other e.g. The 7 Habits of highly families and share a principle of life.
  • For example, for our family, we are going to read the book about my father-in-law called "Mit livs mosaics" together.
  • Discuss the stories together. 
  • Talk about the ideas together as you go along.

8. Problem-Solving
  • Begin by explaining that it is intended to be a safe place for each family member to voice his or her concerns and to discuss issues.
  • Practice active listening and allow each person to speak freely without being interrupted.
  • Once you have gone through every item on your list, ask your children if there is anything else they would like to discuss.
  • Encourage each to give suggestions and make decisions together.

9. Talent Show
  • Sometimes encourage the kids to put up a talent show as an opportunity to share how they are coming along with their music or dance lessons.

10. Have Fun
  • One of the most important ingredients of any family time is fun. This is what unites and bonds family members. This is what creates joy and pleasure in being together.
  • To relax, just let go and enjoy being together. This is so important, esp. when the stress is high.
  • Just wrestling with the kids, telling jokes and laugh together. It creates an environment that is safe for them to tease Mom and Dad and vice-versa.
  • Make an album of family pictures
  • View past old photo albums together
  • Read and discover the family history together e.g. book about Johannes Friis
  • Conduct a Science experiment together
  • Play a board game together
  • Build a fort (with blankets, chairs, etc.) to create a cozy encave and sleep in it together for the night after a WFMN
  • Sleep out in the backyard or camp after a WFMN

11. Sing & Pray
  • Have family devotion, read the Bible together.
  • Pray together and sing one of our family’s favorite songs, “Love at Home” by John Hugh McNaughton.

12. Thanksgiving & Affirmation
  • Encourage each family member to share one thing that they are grateful for, one thing another family member has done well, or one thing they are especially looking forward to.

13. Special Theme
  • For example, have a discussion on service and how important it is to serve one another – the family, neighbors and the larger community.
  • Project “Phantom Family” example from Covey's family
    • Prepare a lesson on service.
    • Rent the video “Magnificent Obsession”.
    • Discuss the movie.
    • "For 3 months, at every family night we made a social treat – popcorn balls, candy apples, cupcakes, etc. We decided which family we are going to spotlight. Then we put the treat on their porch, along with a note that told how we admire their family and appreciated them. We ended the note with “the Phantom Family strikes again!” We rang the doorbell and ran like wildfire. Each week we did the same thing. We never did get caught, although on one occasion we were reported to the police because someone thought we were trying to break in! The plotting, drama and mystery made a great adventure. It also enabled us all to learn more about the principle of anonymous service and to more fully integrate an important part of our family mission statement into our lives." 

14. Outside Enrichment
  • In our jobs or at school, we have an opportunity to be exposed to people from other countries and their visits have enriched our lives and resulted in close friendships worldwide.
  • Once a month, bring some “outsider” to our home to get acquainted with, share with, and learn from.
  • For example, one evening Covey invited a surgeon to join them for their family time. They asked him to share his experiences of medicines with us and how he had been able to help people all over the world.

15. Dream Together
  • For example, dream about what you wish you could change about your home.
  • For example, listen to other family's members' dream.
  • In our case, Daddy's new car wishes :-)
16. Teach Responsibility
  • Discuss a list all the responsibilities that needed to be taken care of in the home.
  • Ask who wants to do what. Every member should pick one task. Put them in-charge of something
  • For example, ask, "Who wants to earn the money?", "Who wants to feed the babt?" It will become apparent that Mom and Dad are both doing so much for the family.
17. See a family photo album together

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