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!!!!