Sunday, 16 February 2014

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How to Implement Weekly Family Meeting (WFM)?


According to Stephen R. Covey and many other authors, there is no way we can be successful in our families if we don’t prioritize family in our lives. According to Stephen R. Covey, "Without a structure for anchoring, families will be blown off course, with the speed of change in the world right now."

How can we ensure that we put first things first to build an effective and loving family with a strong team-spirit that functions and thrives?

The answer lies in creating structure in the family - namely:
1. Weekly Family Meeting Night (WFMN)
2. Weekly Family Fun Night (WFFN)
3. Date One-on-One (DOO)

Such a routine will help us prioritize our family. It will have a tremendous impact on your children’s lives and you will have such fond memories of these times. In this post, I will be focusing on WFM.

Objectives of WFM:

1. Review family mission statement - Integrate it into your lives
2. Plan & Syc Calendars
3. Maintain Communication
4. Teach values
5. Problem-solving
6. Have fun

How to Implement WFM?

Here are 7 steps:

1. Prepare a healthy snack
2. Start slow
3. Keep it short, upbeat & fun
4. Set a specific night
5. Set ground rules
6. Have a Sequence of Agenda (1-1.5 hour)
7. Bring your family calendar
8. Have a bell ready
9. Be present and listen attentively
10. Assign roles, share responsibilities and encourage ownership.

Elaboration as follows:

1. Prepare a healthy snack

2. Start slow
  • Take small steps - one at a time.
  • You can’t run before you can walk.
  • It doesn’t have to be that involved – especially at first. You can just begin to do some of these things at a special family dinner.
  • Perhaps all you feel you can do is to make some promise and keep it, or select some simple goal and go for it. This may be sufficient structure for you at this time. Later, you may come to feel that you can take on another little task or goal and then go for that.

3. Keep it short, upbeat & fun
  • Start with just 10 mins and slowly increase the time overtime.
  • As long as you make it fun and exciting, everyone learns and enjoys.
  • And the more often you do things like this in your family, the easier it will become.
  • After a while, family members will begin to realize they are receiving nourishment in more ways than one, and it will be easier to hold a more involved family time.
  • Try to limit to 1 hour or the duration that would suit your family.

4. Set a specific night
  • Set a specific night to do it and let everyone know when and where it will take place.
  • You want to communicate to your children the importance of a specific family time when they are little, before the onslaught of the teenage social agenda.
  • Schedule it in your family calendar each week that, barring emergencies or unexpected interruptions, you hold inviolate.

5. Set ground rules for the children
  • Set rules that WFM is just "kind of required."
  • For example, everyone doesn’t go anywhere on Sunday – that’s Family Day and a Church Day.
  • Everyone never misses Sunday night – that’s Family Meeting Night
  • We usually do something as a family on Saturday night.

6. Have a Sequence of Agenda (1 - 1.5 hour)
  • 10 mins - Start by reviewing the family calendar on upcoming events so everyone would know what are going on.
  • 10 mins – Have a short lesson and a family activity and serve refreshments.
  • 10 mins - 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 mins - Hold family council and discuss issues and problems, where each family member can give suggestions and together the family would make decisions.
  • 10 mins – Review family mission statement
  • 10 mins - End by praying together and sing one of the family’s favorite songs, e.g. for the Covey's famiy, it is “Love at Home” by John Hugh McNaughton.
  • 30 mins - Have fun e.g. play board game, conduct a Science experiment together, 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, wrestling with the children, build a fort with sheets for a cozy encave, etc.

7. Bring your family calendar


8. Have a bell ready
  • Ring the bell to signify the start of the WFM.
  • Give the bell for the facilitator to ring to will help bring order and regard back to the meeting.

9. Be present and listen attentively
  • Be present and listen attentively to your children throughout the meeting.
  • Allow each person to speak freely without being interrupted.
  • Ask your child if there is anything else they would like to discuss.

10. Assign roles, share responsibilities and encourage ownership
  • Encourage ownership by letting the older children be in-charge-of and lead something – games or treats or activities.
  • If you have older children, use the time to teach them, to play with them and to involve them in fun and meaningful activities and family decisions.
  • If you have very young children, use it as a time of deep communication and planning for the two of you.

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