You can take your family from good to great by simply having a family meeting each week. With everyone in their right seat on the bus, you can all live a life you love!

Imagine a day when things run smoothly. The morning ‘rush hour’ is filled with laughter, not of sighs of frustration. Instead of mumbling about what’s not suppose to be happening, there is a chatter about the plans for the coming weekend. Smiles + excitement fill the air. Sure not everything is perfect but it’s smooth. No nagging or hurrying out the door.

After a full day of learning + earning (as we call it in our home), chatter builds about the day as dinner is served and you sit together as a family. Swapping stories from the day, sprinkled with laughter. It’s so good to be home, together with your favourite people.

Home is truely where the heart is.

Sure the above picture may not be reality for every day of the year but why not have as many of them as possible with your family.

Going from good to great

This week I’ve been caught up in reading a book I found at my local library. Jim Collins and his research team present their findings on what it takes for a business to go from “Good to Great” in his book of the same title.

When you have the right people in the right seats on the bus, they will go wherever the bus goes. Chapter 3 of “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

As I was reading this particular chapter I couldn’t help but think about this from a family perspective. Can we use this to take our families from good to great too? Can we really have a whole lot more of those ideal days in our everyday life?

I’ll stick with the picture of the bus. It helped me visualise the concept of going from good to great and I know it will help you too.

The first part of the quote is easy. Your spouse and children are already the right people on the bus. So there isn’t really anything to do there as you would need to in business. Making sure they are sitting in the right seat, well that is where things get interesting.

So what does it mean to be sitting in the right seat when it comes to our families?

I saw that to mean everyone has their right responsibilities. There are jobs that we each have in our family that I say are, simply for the pleasure of being part of the family. All of those jobs are whatever needs to be done for our family to run smoothly. It’s about sharing the load so we can all live a live we love.

The bus doesn’t get to that sweet desitination of a good life, one that you love, when people are sitting in the wrong seat. When people are sitting in the wrong seat you can expect the bus will crash into the gutter, clip the curbs and at times, end up at the wrong end of town. That is so not the good life we desire to have, and no one wants to be there.

Before we take a look at how to get our bus going in the right direction, let’s take a look at those curb clips and gutter crashes from sitting in the wrong seats.

What does it look like when your bus clips the curb or crashes into the gutter?

You’re 10 minutes late leaving the house in the morning, tensions are tighter than is comfortable. You snapped at your youngest for not being ready. He spent the last 15 minutes trying to find a pair of socks in the laundry pile that has been sitting there since, well, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you are late and are now going to get stuck in more traffic than usual. Your alarm didn’t go off as it should and you have been desperately trying to keep a lid on your annoyance. You haven’t walked out the door and already your wishing it was tomorrow.

Somehow your bus has now ended up at wrong end of town. Some days are like that despite our best intentions.

As you look back over the day you can see how one thing leads to the next, which lead to, well, twists and turns you didn’t expect. Those twists and turns we take were from leaning more to the right than we needed and turning left when we should have gone straight ahead.

Life seem out of control. And it is really. We only think we control it. The only thing that we can control is our actions towards what ever happens.

Even though life happens while we are busy making other plans, there are things we can do to minimise how often we hit the curb and keep our choices from landing us at the wrong end of town. Things we can do ahead of time to make our best intentions become reality.

What we want to focus on today is what we can control. And put a plan in place that will get our bus to the right end of town.

Without purposefully pre-deciding who’s doing what and when, things naturally will be somewhat chaotic. Making a smooth trip an almost impossible challenge.

Setting up for success

A simple and easy way to ensure everyone is sitting in their right seat and that your bus is going in the right direction is to have a family meeting. It doesn’t have to be a huge affair. Just a pre-agreed time each week where you can purposefully take the time to connect with what is happening in everyone’s life and make a plan for what needs to be done in the coming week.

Deciding upfront who is responsible for what, is a simple way to keep resentment away. And when you know who is doing what, things are less likely to get missed. You don’t have to keep a mental list for everyone, checking on the progress to make sure it all gets done.

Even though my boys would say, “Just let me know what needs doing and we’re in”, it is still taxing to think for others as well as yourself. While I love their willingness to help out, I love it even more when I don’t have to think for them. We do that together beforehand at our family meeting.

The times you will be glad everyone is thinking for themselves are those high traffic times of the morning + evening. With family meetings happening, the potential for undue stress is lowered and even removed from the everyday routine. Instead of murmurs you will be laughing + enjoying more of those ideal days you picture a few moments ago.

With space in your mind + calendar, your family time will be about more exciting activities + projects. You will have down time to enjoy rather than simply recovering from the week that was while trying to get prepared for the week ahead.

More than just getting stuff done

One of the outcomes I love the most about having a family meeting is, as we make progress together, we become more connected. We have the time to understand what is happening in each other’s world + share in their interests.

When everyone is doing their part, it is easier to build healthy relationships that are bound by love + filled with joy.

For me this is what it is really all about … connection.

I want to enjoy everyday life, the ordinary stuff with my husband + son. And I’m glad to say that no matter the challenge that has come our way, and there have been some huge ones, we have always managed by God’s grace to learn, adapt + grow through it together.

Having this happen in your life isn’t magical. It’s not just for some special people. We are just like you. So I know without a doubt that you can take your family from good to great too by taking the time to establish your own family meeting.

Our family meeting

Once a week we have a family meeting. Actually it’s turned into a family tradition of waffles, bacon, sausage, eggs + mushroom breakfast with our family meeting. When you combine guys + food it’s amazing what you can accomplish!

Our family meetings really became our focal point of connection last October. We had just come home from an awesome holiday in our caravan. Within three days two computers and our car had broken down. Over the next 6 weeks we replaced those two computers, done major repairs on our car that was just outside of warranty, replaced our washing machine, gernie, almost our freezer + repaired a blockage in the shower (thanks to You Tube we did that one ourselves). But that’s a story for another day.

We didn’t know that when my husband took our car into the mechanic it would be about a month later when it returned. Thankfully he also has a mototbike so getting to work and picking up groceries was no problem. We were also blessed by the many offers from nearby friends to assist should we need it.

While our car was being repaired + with no way to get out in the van on the weekends, we used our time at home to do things around the house. As one who loves to organise, plan + get things done this was a blessing to me. There is nothing like a gentle, or not so gentle nudge, to get moving on a project or two. So we started making a list of the things we needed to do about the place and one by one on the weekends started crossing them off. Even though our car repair seemed to drag on, getting these jobs done about the house was energising. It felt good for everyone.

Each Sunday we’d make our plans for the coming week. We quickly added other things in the discussion, like progress with school, work + finances. We would close our time together with each of us saying a few things we were grateful for this past week, making note if there was something we could do better in the coming week + finish of with prayer.

Before the car came home we’d also added a cooked breakfast to the meeting. One Sunday morning wanted to show my boys how thankful I was for all their efforts in what we’d achieved and decided to cook a delicious breakfast of their favourites. It was easy to have our relaxed family meeting together Sunday morning when our local church service starts at 10am. We started having family meetings a few months earlier on Sunday evenings but found we were more ready to relax than plan. We really needed to find a better time to engage.

That’s how a Sunday morning breakfast came into being and quickly became our family tradition.

Without taking this purposeful time of a family meeting to plan the route for our bus each coming week, we found that we were often no closer to where we wanted to be than we were at the start of the week, or even last month. We’d hit curbs, took wrong turns, it was so easy to be distracted each day, and end up in a different direction that where we really wanted to be heading. We saw that while we were living a good life, we could be living a great life. It wasn’t bad, it just could be a whole lot better.

Most importantly it has helped us each get in the right seat, be responsible for our part in the family, cultivate gratitude, support each other + live a life we love!

You can do it too!

If something isn’t working or you feel that you want to go from being good to great, establishing a family meeting is a great time to discuss solutions + impliment a change. It’s also been a great opportunity to show our gratitude to each other, laugh together + know that were we are going, we are doing it together.

I cherish that this time has become a tradition we look forward to. It’s unique + purposeful, and with big results.

I’ve included a free printable meeting card + bookmark that you can put in your planner, to inspire you to create your own family meeting. Simply write down the items that are relevant to your family to form the outline of your meeting time.

In the 9 months we’ve been having our family meeting, our times together have grown + changed, just as we have.

I encourage you to turn your family meeting time into someting you can all enjoy. Create your own tradition that is eagerly anticipated each week. I know you will see amazing results as you connect to create + live a life you love!

Success comes when you #takeaction

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