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The Real Reason Family Meetings Matter

Oh, how I longed to be in the Brady Bunch growing up.

It wasn’t that I desired to share a bedroom with two brothers or a bathroom with three sisters (with no toilet in the bathroom – seriously, I dare you to watch any episode and find a toilet).

I was always in awe of those amazing “family meetings” the Brady kids and parents had where the drama of the day was solved in mere moments. As the dad spoke words of wisdom over a gentler instrumental of the Brady Bunch theme, everyone would nod and simultaneously remember what was most important. It’d sometimes even end with him declaring on a high note, “Operation Brady has begun!”

Seriously, how cool is that?

I never had a family meeting growing up. I've certainly had to sit my kids down on things over the years, but even then my wife and I would have side conversations about adult things and only give them the kid-version of it.

Still, I found myself having to have a deeper conversation recently with my kids.

"Guys," I began, "Mom and I are instituting something called a 'family meeting' that will give us the chance to talk about meaningful things. In fact, we're not the only ones who can call a family meeting like this. You can, too."

They nodded, and I continued.

"We're entering a new season as a family where some things might be changing. You're old enough that Mom and I want you to be involved with this. That's not to say we'll vote on big issues, but that we'll each do our best to seek God on these topics so we can then share our sense of that with each other. Hopefully that brings us all on the same page. Does that make sense?"

Again, they nodded. My oldest asked, "How do we figure out what God is saying, though?"

"That's actually a great question. It's something I didn't know how to figure out for the longest time. Some days I still wonder about it. The catch is He's your father and wants to have a 'family meeting' with you, too. At times He'll call that meeting, and other times you'll need to call it. I've learned a few things that I'd like to teach you about it as we consider some options in front of us."

I'd love to offer you what I offered them:

  • God is at work everywhere: There is nowhere on earth where God isn't up to something. While there may be some dark places in the world, there are no God-forsaken places. Psalm 139:7-12 offers, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, read more. Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night," Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day Darkness and light are alike to You."
  • Look for God in what you're considering: I sometimes go on business trips and discover handwritten notes to me from my family members, only the notes aren't signed. While I have to ultimately guess who wrote which one, it's not that difficult because I've spent time learning who each person is, what their penmanship is like and the more common words they use. The same is true of God - as we spend time reading the Bible or learning about him through church, we can better understand who He is, what His "penmanship" is like and the more common words He uses. This helps us as we look for His touches in the various situations in our lives that we're trying to figure out.
  • Search yourself for your deepest response: Whenever I see God at work, I either experience a sense admiration or a sense of invitation. The challenge is to get past my filters and initial reactions to really understand which one it is. Sometimes I want to initially call something "admiration" that God has invited me into, and other times I want to invite myself into something the Lord is saying "just admire this... this isn't for you personally." I like how Henri Nouwen said discernment is a combination of time alone with God, reading Scripture, seeking the counsel of godly friends and practicing intentional silence. He summarized, "By embracing the darkness, in solitude and community, we eventually find the light."
  • Let feelings out: While someone's feelings may feel contradictory to what you're aiming for, let them express them. By feeling heard, they may feel more inclined to listen.
  • Ask questions that lead to real wisdom: You may be surrounded by people who will only tell you the easy advice you want to hear. Instead, go on a journey of asking things like, "How does this choice fit with God's primary purpose for my life? Does this choice cling to comfort or to Christ? Who in my life will tell me what I need to hear, even if I don't want to hear it?"

You know, I never saw any of that on the Brady Bunch.

Then again, I've never solved life in a half hour (with commercial breaks) either.

So the purpose of our family meetings is to nurture our "family meetings with our Father" that inform our family meetings with each other. In a world where we could easily say, "Make sure everyone's voice is heard..." we've added, " that we can hear God's voice in each other because we've each spent time with Him."

Do you have any tips on talking about deeper themes with your kids or making decisions together?


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  • Kim

    This is great! sharing with families in my ministry!

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