When I was first started as a parent blogger for EP, it was suggested that I look at parenting from a “Dad’s” point of view. Funny, in all the years I’ve been parenting, I never considered my point of view being other than just a parents’ viewpoint.You see, for a period of five and one half years, I was a single parent of three children, Frank III, Louis (Lou), and Dominica (Mini). When I became a full-time single parent, they were ten, eight, and seven.
I was working a very full-time job of 65 hours weekly. My responsibilities each week included grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and a myriad of other things including seasonal decorating and school projects. Staying connected to my children was accomplished by having them at my side during all of these activities, as well as creating the occasional family fun activity on the weekend. We would go apple, cherry, or strawberry picking. We would take in a high school football game, a little league game, or go fishing. We would shovel snow in the winter or gather leaves in the fall.
When they were not in school, I was very fortunate to have had a mother of two smaller children supervising them. Alice was grateful for the extra income and I was grateful for the consistent care she provided. We really helped each other in so many ways.
One of the rituals my kids and I had was our weekly Family Meeting.Our Family Meetings were a separate event that were set aside to purposely focus on the obligations of each family member. During this meeting, we coordinated all family activities for the coming week on our family calendar. We discussed rides, chores, and homework. It was also a time to recognize each person’s contribution to the success of the entire family. We were a team. Each person had an effect on another person’s life and the life of the family as a whole. This was a time when we acknowledged our dedication to assisting each other in achieving individual as well as family goals. We all wanted to know we belonged to something bigger than ourselves. We grew to understand that the Family, in its home environment, represented a place of safety and strength. We relied on each other.
Our meetings never lasted more than twenty minutes and were held on the same day and time. We closed our meetings with individual acknowledgments for thoughtful acts freely given during the previous week.
Funny how rituals become habits. Today, all my children use Family Meetings, and, even though my wife and I are empty-nested, we conduct our meetings like clockwork. It is one of our ways of staying connected.
Do you have family meetings at your house? What works for your family?