A CARROT FOR A FAMILY MEETING

Laura Sandefer

April 13, 2013

I’d like to offer a tantalizing carrot to you. But first a little spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning is built into my psyche. For my Norwegian mother it was a time of mattress flipping and gutter sweeping. My take is more of a mental and spiritual “de-cluttering.”

Included in my list of things to reflect upon and fine-tune is the Sandefer Family Plan. Our weekly meetings for the past six months have been family “huddles” (taken from one of my favorite management books, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish.) We meet together for no more than 15 minutes each week and answer the questions: What’s up? Where are you stuck?

Each spring, we take out the piece of paper we wrote last summer and analyze our Family Plan. Is our rallying cry still valid? Do we need a new one? Are some goals unrealistic? Should we add new ones? Where have we grown? What can we cross off our list? Who needs ice cream?

As Acton Academy families, the concept of family plans and meetings is central to our community. We have experienced the truth that having a sense of purpose in our family frees us to live well rather than to live busily.

And here is the carrot that may inspire you to have a family meeting this week: Resilience.

Research shows that having a family narrative, a family mission statement and family meetings is key to building resilience in our children. I am gratified to know this for I dream that my children will cultivate their own resilience before they leave the roost. Thank you to Heather Staker for sending me the following link discussing these findings:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html?pagewanted=1&_r=5

Our next parent luncheon will include a conversation about the ups and downs we’ve experienced with our family meetings. I look forward to learning from you and I am encouraged by this higher vision we can now share around these efforts.

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