Thursday, June 24, 2010

the family meeting

Well, thus far all I've managed is a list of longer-term goals. But that is something. Now I guess I need to focus on priorities and break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time focusing on the near future because I'm still trying so desperately to finish up with the current school year. But again, I think this is one of my fundamental tendency to obsess.

One strategy I've decided to employ is the weekly family meeting. Instead of me trying to keep track of what everyone needs to get done, I've decided to try to get together once a week and discuss all the things that a.) we need to get done, individually and as a family, and b.) we would like to do, individually and as a family. I'm going to pick up one of those big desk calendars and hope that a few of those magnetic clip thingies will hold it on the fridge. In the past, we used a wipe off calendar to keep track of things, but had only limited success...because I often didn't make the time to wipe off and start over with a new month. (Seriously, there were times when we were the calendar was three or four months out of date. Not particularly helpful. :P) But when I did keep it up-to-date, it worked like a charm at keeping appointments and whatnot organized. I eventually got rid of it because it wouldn't wipe clean anymore anyway. Hopefully this little tweak on an old strategy will prove effective.

But I'm hoping the family meeting will help in other ways as well. I used to participate in Laura's Menu Plan Monday. Honestly, I'm not sure why I ever slacked off, because it was so incredibly helpful. Again, I think I somehow thought that taking an hour to sit down and plan our week's menus was somehow taking away from time I should be working on lesson plans. Which, in reality, couldn't have been further from the truth...when I don't plan menus, I waste unbelievable amounts of time trying to throw things together on a daily basis. Anyway, what does that have to do with a family meeting? Well, I figure that's a good time to have everyone throw out their requests for the week.

The family meeting will also be a good time to bring up any problems we're having, any complaints, any requests, etc. For example, this week I plan on bringing up the inside-out clothes situation. I've begged and begged and begged everyone to please put their clothes down the laundry chute right-side-out. Finally, I adopted the strategy of just not fixing them for anybody. I'd just return their inside-out clothes back to them clean, but still inside-out. And this really worked for a while...but now everyone is slacking more than ever. So at the family meeting I will be informing everyone that if their clothes aren't right-side-out I'm just not going to wash them period. Max will be sockless in no time. ;)  But this isn't just a time for Rich and I to air our grievances, but for the munchkins to as well. Gray and Max both have a tendency to lose their cool when they see something as unjust. They react without thinking. And as much as we've tried to tell them that this only hurts their cause, it still seems to be their M.O. I'm hoping that if they start bringing up issues at the family meeting, while they're in a calm state, they'll find that it's much easier for us all to come up with solutions everyone can be happy about.

At this week's family meeting, I'm also hoping that we can brainstorm some more ideas for our "summer fun and education" plans. We put together a basic guideline last week one night at supper, but we still need to come up with some ideas for specific activities. But perhaps I'll leave that for tomorrow's post...


  1. I'm still totally guilty of not turning my clothes right side out :p It drives my mom crazy. There's something wrong with the fact that my mom is still doing my laundry, isn't there? lol. I used to love your menu plans!!! They used to make me drool all the time! I'm sure the family meeting will be productive :)

  2. I don't do this at home, but if you're trying to help los gatos learn to postpone the administration of justice, I've found at work it helps if I post the agenda somewhere and let people add to it what they want to talk about. I've always thought that would be very helpful at home - if the boys are upset that something is unfair, they want to do SOMETHING, because they know that if they don't, it'll get forgotten (by them AND me). So, they coudl go to the refrigerator, and write a line on that says 'Dad makes me go to bed when I have five minutes left' or whatever, and then they feel secure that at least their concerns will be aired. Just a thought.