We started having family meetings a few weeks ago. Every Tuesday after the boys take the garbage to the curb, and we get the twins (3) in bed, the rest of us sit in our living room for some chat time.
We all have our special spots for the meeting. Brian is first on the left side of the couch, Kazz (14) sits on the other end of the couch. Brisan (10) sits on the left side of the love seat and Vinze (7) sits on the right. I sit in the recliner that Brian bought for me after I broke my leg.
This was very important during the first meeting. The boys wanted to sit oldest to youngest. Then they realized that I was last and that isn't good because I'm a year and a half older than Brian. Oh My! BUT...the recliner could be considered first then Brian then Kazz, Brise and Vinze. OH WELL THEN it's okay to sit like that now. LOL
Brian starts all of the meetings of course. He began the first meeting with a black book in his hands to take notes. He began forcefully and clearly, as if he was speaking during one of his high powered meetings with Ford Motor Engineers. The boys were all ears. They listened to what a great and wonderful job they were doing while I've been incapacitated. They were all ears when this years vacations were being discussed. They understood the new rules for the week, chores to be done tht week and ideas thrown out for discussion.
Then came time for each boy to talk. Kazz was first. It was a slow start. He didn't know what this was all about but he thought he would give it a shot. He said that he wants 2 trampolines so he can jump one to another. Brian wrote it in his book without so much as a sideways glance. Kazz then realized that 'Hey! we are ACTUALLY going to listen to him without telling him he's being silly or saying anything negative at all. He realized that he can SAY anything he wants and we will listen, dad will write it down and he will be heard! (listen yes, buy two trampolines? ummm no.)
Well, the flood gates opened and there were discussions one after another about brotherly tension, friends, school, ideas and more. Each boy had their turn without interuption. They got to talk as long as they wanted. If a concern about another brother came up, it was talked about right then and there with Brian as the mediator asking direct questions, calmly, to reach a solution.
They talked until they were blue in the face. We got a lot of tension cleared from the brother section of the family, lots of ideas for family fun, Kentucky ideas, vacation ideas and just plain old fashioned family talking accomplished.
We sat there for 2 hours. It seemed like 10 minutes.
I felt great leaving the first meeting. The second and third felt the same. It wasn't until a week or so ago that I realized that this was a huge need for our family.
Vinze came in to tell me that he and Brise were going to build a fort. I said, "That's great. When did you guys decide to start playing together?" Vinze informed me that "everything is great since our family meetings!"
Well, mission accomplished, I thought.
This past Tuesday at the close of our meeting I asked everyone if they are getting anything out of these meetings. Kazz pipes up, "I think we are all closer." as he looked over at his brothers. "Even Brisan and I can hang out together now and Vinze isn't such a pain."
Well, meeting adjourned. :-)