Is it possible to build strong connections, give everyone the knowledge that their voice matters, and encourage each member of your family in less than 20 minutes a week? Yes, it is! Take the 8-week challenge and build a family that is more connected, capable, and courageous. Watch in awe as your family not only grows closer and more encouraged, each member will also gain valuable listening, sharing, and consensus building skills.
Elements of the Encouragement Council
- Consistently held every week, at a reliable time, for 15-20 minutes maximum.
- All in the household are invited to attend and attendance is not mandatory (whatever is decided in the meeting will be set for the week and can be revisited at the next meeting)
- Everyone in the family has a role in the meeting. Suggested positions include:
- Meeting president
- Note taker (to record important decisions made)
- Encouragement question chooser
- Time keeper
- Snack person, etc.
Rotate roles weekly.
- Meeting format stays consistent while the roles and leadership of the meeting rotates each week – allowing all of the family members opportunities to grow leadership skills.
- Opening *
- Coordinating Calendars
- Encouragement Question
- Plan Family Fun
- Closing Cheer / Dance *
* Opening and closing the meeting with a moment of fun can bring some lightness and humor. The meeting president gets to pick the opening / closing. S/he might open the meeting by passing a smile or high-five around the circle and end with a family cheer or dance-move together.
Give each person in the meeting an opportunity to give and receive a “word present” – something appreciated. It might be one thing that a family member did that week that you loved or a quality he/she expresses that you notice and admire.
An encouragement question is an opportunity for each family member to express individual tastes, loves, ideas, and opinions and is not something that has a “right” or “wrong” answer. This activity helps to solidify the idea that we are all together in this family and it is not only ok to have unique and different ideas, it is fun to share and hear them. A few examples of encouragement questions are:
- What is your favorite room in our house?
- What is something you’re excited about this week?
- If you could be a vehicle, what kind of vehicle would you be?
Plan Family Fun
Family fun is a 30-minute (screen-free, $-free) family activity that everyone in the family engages in together each week. Steps for planning family fun:
- Brainstorm: write down at least one idea from every family member
- Come to consensus. A simple consensus strategy is “Fist to Five”:
- Everyone contributes one idea for family fun to the list
- Invite a family member to read each idea aloud
- Every family member can show their enthusiasm for the idea by silently raising a hand: 1 (Not interested) — 5 (Love this idea)
Tally the number of fingers raised.
Come to consensus together on an activity for family fun for the coming week.
Encouragement Council sets your family up to respect, encourage and listen to one another. The next step in creating a Family Meeting is to add in problem solving. If you’re interested in learning more, join our upcoming FLC program on “Family Problem Solving” or reach out to a member of our leadership team for more family encouragement building ideas.