3. Limited Family Council (Both Parents, One Child)
Elder Ballard says that these councils are primary to help a child make decisions in advance about what they will and will not do in the future as well as a designated time for both parents to “carefully listen to serious concerns and challenges” that their child is facing.
One roadblock we’ve encountered with this one is simply when to do it. We found we were almost never alone with just one child, so these types of councils were not happening organically.
When to do it?
We’ve decided to schedule them after the kids’ bedtime once a month for each kid. This has the added benefit of making them each excited to come talk to us since they get to stay up later than they otherwise would.
Questions to ask:
- What has made you happy this week?
- Have you been struggling with anything?
- What have you failed at? (make sure to give them a high five after this one, it’s the trying that’s important!)
- Has anyone done anything super nice for you this week?
- What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?
- What are you looking forward to next week?
- How can we help you feel loved and important this week?
I love the conference talk “It’s Never Too Early and It’s Never Too Late
” from Elder Foster last October. In the talk he mentions a man named Pablo with whom he was very impressed. When he asked why, Pablo said he is who he is because of his father. Pablo said,
“When I was nine, my dad took me aside and said, ‘Pablo, I was nine once too. Here are some things you may come across. You’ll see people cheating in school. You might be around people who swear. You’ll probably have days when you don’t want to go to church. Now, when these things happen—or anything else that troubles you—I want you to come and talk to me, and I’ll help you get through them. And then I’ll tell you what comes next.’”
When I heard that I thought, “Wow, I want to have those conversations with my kids!” Now I’ve scheduled when exactly I will have those talks.