Establishing Team Meetings

Today we sat down for the first family meeting we’ve had in a long time. Sarah and I thought it would be good to start them up, probably regularly, to keep us all in sync with what we want our family life to be like and what everyone’s responsibilities and expectations are. It seems like it will be especially important and helpful to continue these as the kids get older, more independent, schedules become fuller, and autonomy increases.

We had a “co-captain pre-meeting” to figure out how the meeting might go and what topics we wanted to try to focus on. We wanted to keep it sort of brief, leave it open for the kids to have a chance to suggest other topics, and have room for everyone to ask and answer questions. I think the biggest challenge of the pre-meeting was figuring out how to strike a balance between structuring it so it was productive and useful, and not having so much structure that it seemed like we, the parents, were just laying down the law or dominating the process.

The kids were definitely reluctant. In the past, family meetings meant trying to figure out how we can get them to clean up around the house more, so you can see why they were not looking forward to it. We tried to make everything different than past meetings. We met outside in a circle and everyone had paper and something to write with. Keana agreed to be the official note taker, but we all took notes and wrote down everyone’s ideas. The only real rule was that everyone had to talk only for themselves. Aliya was especially hilarious with the note-taking. She would repeat the last thing someone said, jotting down her own note, repeating the item out loud, “…okay, support each other. Got it!”

IMG_1057We started with talking about the goals or mission of Team Hokama. Everyone shared and here’s some of what we came up with:

  • Be open minded
  • Keep house tidy
  • Being there for each other when we need help
  • Having fun together
  • Being happy together
  • Supporting each other’s dreams and personal goals
  • Support each other in staying strong and healthy
  • Keep each other safe
  • Talk to each other if feeling unsafe or uncomfortable
  • Support and encourage each other

Then we talked about each of our own responsibilities, again, each person only talking for themselves. In this go-around, we listed things we were responsible for that only affected the individual, and things we were responsible for that contributed to the “success” of the team.

This led nicely to expectations. We covered what some reasonable and unreasonable expectations might be, but didn’t get much further than that. We had been at it for about 20-30 minutes by this point and I think that was pretty much the limit. I didn’t want to jump into this part when the kids were already past their patience threshold, so we tabled it for next time.

Overall, I think it was a great first meeting. I think it will be important to stay consistent with it and I’m kind of excited about having dedicated time where we can all share and think together and create an establish forum for bringing up issues—big and small—that affect the whole family.

Here are some of the kids’ notes:

Aliya's Notes Maia's Notes Keana's Notes