Off to a good start

This morning everyone accepted the invitation to our first family meeting. It was not without resistance, however. “I’m going to get my knitting so I can knit at our family meeting,” said Fenner. “Uh, sorry, Fen, no activities at family meeting other than… family meeting,” I responded. “Why not?!” “Because it’s only 15 minutes and we want everyone focused on the meeting.” “Oh. … Can I hold my gerbils at the meeting?” “No.” “Moooom! You’re strict!” “Honey, you don’t have to come to the meeting, but that’s the deal.” “But if I don’t come I don’t get my allowance, right?” “That’s right,” I said.

The day before, we had discussed who would have what job at the meeting. “What I am supposed to be at the meeting?” asked Ellen. “You’re the treasurer, Ellen,” said Fenner, “and I’m the writer-person. What’s that called?” “The secretary,” said Jerry. “And Charlotte’s the time-keeper,” continued Fenner. Charlotte looked at me with a worried expression. “Time?” she said. “Would you rather be the meeting opener?” I asked. “Yeah!” “Ok, dad will be the timekeeper, and I’ll be the chairperson.” “I’ll write everyone’s job in the book!” said Fenner. I said, “Fenner, that will be very helpful so we know who’s done what job and we can rotate.” She smiled and began writing.

“So girls?” I said, “We’ll begin at 10 o’clock and if we get through appreciations in 15 minutes then you get your allowance.” “I don’t want to do appreciations,” said Charlotte. She still had only one appreciation written on the board. I said, “Well, you don’t have to come to the meeting, but then you don’t get your allowance.” She frowned and I continued, “When it’s your turn, we can wait until you think of something for each person.” “Okaaay,” she said.

At 10:00 we all sat at the table. I looked at Jerry who had been in charge of getting the cash. “Honey, the treasurer needs the money.” “Oh!” He got up to get his wallet and handed Ellen the cash. Meanwhile, I gave Charlotte a wooden mallet that comes with a row of five pegs you can hammer:
“Ok!” I said, “When all five pegs are down, the meeting has begun.” Charlotte was thrilled and hammered hard and fast. This worked well except, as I had feared, it was hard for her to stop hammering. I gently pushed the toy out of her reach and said softly, “This is for the beginning and the end only.” She reluctantly agreed.

After that, we passed the appreciations board around and everyone read their list. Some people changed and added things as they read, and when we got to Charlotte, she read her one appreciation she had written for the whole family and then looked up at us. I said, “Ok, now we still have plenty of time. We’ll wait until you can think of something for each person.” She thought for a few seconds and then started right in, “I appreciate mom because she lets me go to the big rock in the woods. I appreciate Ellen because she plays with me on the big rock. I appreciate…” And they rolled off her tongue one after the other.

When Charlotte finished I said, “Ok, time keeper? How’r we doin’?” “Still five minutes to spare!” said Jerry. Everyone was feeling good. Ellen handed her sisters their cash, and they all counted to make sure they got the right amount. “Alright, we’ve done it. Time to adjourn.” I pushed the peg toy back toward Charlotte. “When all the pegs are down, you are free to go.” Charlotte began to giggle and slowly tapped each peg into its hole, clearly enjoying the chance to have all eyes on her for as long as possible.

As soon as the last peg went down, the talking began, “How much are those MP3 players?” … “Mom, can I have a bank account?” … “I know, I’ll do a pattern! The first week I’ll spend, the next week I’ll put in my account, and then the next week I’ll spend again — like that!” … “Mom, it’s time to put up another appreciations board!”

I did and couldn’t get out of their way fast enough as they each grabbed a pen and got right to work preparing for next week’s meeting:


Explore posts in the same categories: Week 9: Family Meetings

2 Comments on “Off to a good start”

  1. Catharine Says:

    I cried when I read this (I’m a little hormonal this week). Seeing what this program has done for your girls is awe-inspiring. Thank you for sharing your family’s trials and tribulations.


    • flockmother Says:

      I love when a comment gets me to look at an old post and reminds me how far we’ve come. Thank you!

      btw I notice you spell your name “Catharine”? Me too!

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