Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Inspired By The Best

Rather tragic attempt at whiting out the words on the page!

We had a 'Limited Edition Family Meeting' last weekend (do you like that? my boys thought of the title!). Our definition of a 'LEFM' (Limited Edition Family Meeting) is: the first family meeting of the year, in which you 'pull out the big guns' and dream big, make big goals, be totally honest with each other and share and document your plans/hopes/dreams for the year and beyond. 

Before we set our goals/shared our dreams, I shared with my boys something that really resonated with me from Timothy Ferriss' book, 'The 4- Hour Work Week'. 

Under the heading, 'Doing the Unrealistic Is Easier Than Doing the Realistic', Tim says, "Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal. Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which you throw in the towel. If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort". Tim says, "if you choose a goal because it is realistic, you won't have the enthusiasm to jump even the smallest hurdle to accomplish it.... but you'll find that you are prepared to do battle for a dream that is worth dreaming".

I love this attitude... aim for the stars, aim big... and you'll find a way, you'll find the fortitude to get over those hurdles, to achieve what you want.

I read it out loud. There was nodding. 'Little one' got it....and boy did he dream big!... actually we all did. We shared our current feelings about ourselves and each other (a heavy duty 'feelings check') and suggested things we could improve on to make the family work better. I learnt about my boys hopes and dreams. It was pretty emotional for me actually. What mother doesn't get a tear in her eye when her children get that faraway look when they are sharing their life dreams. Special stuff. What I wouldn't give for a magic fairy wand to grant their wishes and make all their dreams come true.

We're going to file away our notes from our 2012 LEFM and visit them at the same time next year. It will be great to see how far we have come...all the while keeping our dreams and goals close to our hearts and at the forefront of our minds throughout the year.

This was our 'Limited Edition Family Meeting List of Questions', created by all of us. We are going to revisit these every year:

1. What are the things I like best about myself? (little one scribbled furiously!!)
2. What are the things I like the least about myself?
3. What are the things I like the best about/and the least about, Mum, brother, father, 'insert other family member here', etc?
4. What are the most fun things I'd like to do as a family /or with one person this year? (looks like I'll be doing a bit of 'Laser Force' this year)
5. What are my biggest, most whopping dreams for my life?
6. Where do I see myself in 5 years?
7. Where do I see myself in 10 years?
8. What do I really want to achieve for myself this year?
9. What is the one thing I will change, or work on, this year?
10. What do I want my family to achieve this year?

We discussed our answers after we had answered the whole lot. It's good to confess your limitations and encourage each other's strengths. There was great honesty. There were giggles... and amends. It was good. Even Brian and Nigella got a mention via proxy.

It's great ammo for mid week fights too, "hey, remember you said sorry for that behaviour in the FM and said you were going to work on it?". Family meeting promises = big guns. Can't argue with a FM promise... it's like a 'pinky promise'.

Reading from Mr Covey's book.
We vary our meeting venues!

Do you sit down as a family and discuss how you're doing, where you're heading, how you can make your family better? I got the idea from Steven Covey's book, "The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Families". Mr Covey believes that "strong families just don't happen, but need the combined energy, talent, desire, vision and dedication of all their members". Our little weekly meetings are a safe place where we can be honest, share our feelings, 'level' with each other (without fear of judgement or argument) ... and make amends. When we 'level' with someone who did something that upset us, there is no reply from that someone at that moment. That someone just has to listen and acknowledge that the person who is sharing the level has been heard....something great we learnt through my husband's rehabilitation this year. It is so so sweet to hear my little boy say to me "I hear you Mum", "support you Mum".

My boys are good communicators. I am hoping these meetings keep the communication channels open as they become young men. It's great to take time out of our busy lives, make time to really listen to each other and acknowledge each other's needs. I always keep in mind, what Mr Covey says..... "when you raise your children, you are also raising your grandchildren". Great, great book.

Collecting my boys today.... they have been at Grans for a couple of days. It has been bliss, the serenity... but I did miss them terribly. The 'missing them' bit will wear off 5 minutes after we all walk in the door at home though. They fight now. I have a teenager. He's a teaser! One of the things I am working on, with gritted teeth, now that I have a teenager in the house...... "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff"... and there's plenty of it!!!! 

Happy Tuesday!


  1. I here you A-M...I also have a teenager [daughter] in the house. I love that message "when you raise your children you are also raising your grandchildren" so powerfully true. Definately need to start these family meetings. Have a beautiful day with your boys xx

  2. What a lovely thing to do. I am not sure my boys are quite old enough for this yet but there certainly are elements of this we could adapt. You have a wonderful relationship with your boys. xx

  3. Oh A-M, that post really speaks to me.... Really.
    Thank you.

  4. Wow, pretty powerful stuff. This is Real parenting. Your boys are lucky kids.
    We have a box in our family where we are able to write some of goals and targets for the year and just small things like visit a particular park or coffee place. As my girl gets older it's an ideal progression to build on this and include longer term wishes. (love the whopping dream bit!)
    Lovely post to read this morning.

  5. Please don't ever take your blog off line EVER A-M, I'm going to need it as a reference in years to come (now I'm going to be a mummy of two boys soon!). That is such a great idea and the quote about '...also raising your grandchildren' is very powerful. You are a brilliant mother - very inspirational!

  6. I love the 7 Habits book. And the 4 hour week book is one of DS's favourites.
    Your FM is a fantastic idea. I really love it. I hope you do continue with it.
    We don't have formal FM's but we talk about our hopes and dreams together a lot. Mostly if we go out for dinner DS and DH are very chatty. DS and I talk a lot about his dreams on an everyday basis.
    Teenagers are another world. You won't believe how messy their rooms can get. I just close the door and throw clean sheets in there once a week lol.

  7. Interesting what Mr Covey says, A-M, because most tell us to set too unrealistic goals otherwise they will seem too far out of reach. But I can see his point of view. Dream too small and you can fail just as easily because there will always be some easy excuse to either not get started or lose steam part way through.
    I've never done the family meeting but really want to. Perhaps I might borrow your list and modify a few things.
    I might have to check out Mr Covey's book on Book Depository.

  8. As the Mum of three girls, two of whom are similar ages to your boys I think. It is music to my soul to know that there is a Mum out there
    preparing her boys to be great life partners...that communicate and listen and have empathy. What a gift you are giving them and
    their future family....I tear up at the thought.
    Fran A

  9. Beautiful post A-M. Your boys are lucky to have a Mum like you.

    Happy Tuesday x

  10. At the moment, I am dreaming of a lovely older 1920's house with a lot of work required .. I'll keep dreaming ...

  11. We don't do formal family meetings but dinner times are our informal meeting times.

    Your post did resonate with me. I have a teenage daughter but also have a boy turning 13 and another boy who is 8. My 13 year old boy needles his younger brother mercilessly. I am pleased it is not just my boys, it must be yet another stage!

  12. Deliberate mothering at its best, A-M. No wonder the boys are turning out so beautifully. You are such an inspiration. J x

  13. I have read his 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' many times, but hadn't heard of this one until now. I shall have to get it. He makes so much sense. Completely understand where you're coming from regarding a teenage boy in the house. I have one almost 14 who use to be so darn lovely; then puberty hit. He argues with his younger sister all the time now. If you have the secret on how to survive the teenage years I'd love to hear it.

  14. We never held formal type meetings but always ate dinner at the table with the TV switched off. This was our discussion time. Plus as we lived out in a semi rural area which required extended periods driving this time was also spent in conversation ie. captive audience!
    My kids are now twenty somethings and love their parents. We're close. I can't ask for any more.
    A-M I know with certainty you are creating a special bond with your gorgeous lads.

  15. Dear A-M,
    You really are raising your lovely boys to be wonderful men! Bless you!

  16. That's such a great idea. When my little dude gets a bit bigger we're so doing this :)

  17. We never did formal family meetings but somehow we all ended up sharing when we needed to. That is up until recently. Maybe it's something we need to introduce to our dialogue. Great suggestion A-M!


  18. I love your family meetings. We had one family meeting years ago, but it became slightly negative when talking about sharing chores and our 3 never wanted to do it again. I tried to tell them that good stuff was discussed in family meetings too eg. pocket money, places to go for holidays, but the damage was done! I would suggest to first timers that the first family meeting/s are fun and positive.


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx