Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
When our girls were in grade school, Selma and I started holding family gatherings to discuss big decisions and make sure everyone’s voice was heard.
We called these meetings our family conference. They were usually not long and drawn out times but were critical to the family connection we desired. These were our family conference rules:
- Anyone in the family can call a family conference for any reason.
- Everyone participates in the meeting and shares an opinion.
- Everyone listens to the one speaking.
We began having these special times when our youngest was around four, so you can imagine some of the conference agendas. Topics ranged from where we should go on our next summer vacation to when during the Christmas season we would open gifts to everyone’s responsibilities if we got a dog.Do you regularly meet with your entire family? Here are 4 benefits of regular family conferences --> Click To Tweet
When Natalie (our youngest) was five, she called our most memorable family conference. When we were settled in for the meeting she told us that she thought we loved Jen (her older sister) more than her. We told her we appreciated her concern and then explained why we indeed loved Jen more than her. (Just kidding.)
Here are 4 benefits to holding a family conference:
1. It organizes the family. Everyone is on the same page. For example, a crazy busy week lies ahead and mom needs some extra help with some chores, a family conference can determine what is expected of each member.
2. It encourages openness and prevents suppression. When there’s a specific time allotted to sharing ideas and opinions, it keeps concern or anger from building up in a family member. The air is cleared and conflicts can be resolved. Expectations are clearly explained. Communication. It’s a beautiful thing.
3. It recognizes the value of every family member. Self esteem is granted and guarded. What an opportunity it was for us to boost Natalie’s self worth by telling her that we loved everyone in the family the same. If there was no family conference in place we might not have ever known of her tender five-year-old feelings.
4. It reinforces family identity. Getting together to discuss “family business” says that we are not just a random group of people who live under the same roof. Rather, our conferences said that we were a family that cares for each other, plans together, protects and respects each other, and is moving in the same direction.
A family is a gift from God that needs to be cultivated and nurtured. Family conferences provide the opportunity to do just that. Do it your own way, but give it a shot. A stronger family can emerge.