The way a family conference works is to plan a specific time and place to discuss an issue, and then listen to everyone’s opinion one by one.
The greatest thing about a family conference is that everyone has a turn to speak. We usually go around in a circle, and everyone has to listen. The only rule for the family conference is that everyone’s opinion is valuable. Remember the falooda concept—we all are different, and express our personality and opinions with a rich variety so that all ‘ingredients’ together make for a great ‘taste’. No matter how young, it’s amazing how insightful and simply profound a fouryear-old can be. Ever person’s contribution is important. Final decision making may rest with dad and m o m but often w e have found huge decisions have been changed or adapted by knowing what someone else in the family really feels.
This is a training ground for being able to make decisions collectively. It is a natural time to share our thoughts, feeling, and prayers in a safe non-threatening environment. Have food and drinks, make everyone feel at home and start listening as each one share their views uninterrupted. The idea is not to thrash out a decision but to listen, to be heard and share. It can take more than one sitting to arrive at any conclusion but that is part of the process.
A family conference is a time the family comes together and talks their heart out on issues that concerns them and then together evolve a strategy to go forward. So have your family conferences and let no one ever feel left out or not heard in your family. Have fun, have food and have a family conference!
Adapted from ‘Family Falooda’ – a unique and amazing resource for young families to invest into their children’s future – written by Rod & Ruthie Gilbert with Luke & Kirti Gilbert