Practical Tips for Leadership within the Family

Each year, I pray and ask God for His direction for my life for the upcoming year. This year, I received from God something that He didn’t clearly define at the time, however, I am learning more and more about this as the year progresses. The impression that I received was that I was to LEAD. I shared this with my family on January 1, and today, on May 29, the day that I am writing this, I have learned some practical tips for leadership within the context of family that I’d like to share with you.

Near the end of 2015, one of our parents came to live with us. For those of you who are caretakers, or if you have moved in with your family for various reasons, you understand the adjustments that both sides have to go through. After a few months, it seemed evident that the new member of the family might not be feeling included in some aspects of the life of the family.

Like many of you, we have a lot of activities and issues including work, health, school, etc. that keep us seemingly running in several directions simultaneously. So, with an already busy life, how do we intentionally include everyone in all aspects of our family life in ways that are meaningful?

A book that I read during my graduate program came to mind which addresses these kinds of issues, “Taking Care of Aging Family Members: A Practical Guide”, by Wendy Lustbader and Nancy R. Hooyman. In their book, they mention the use of family meetings as a way to help facilitate the process of family members working cooperatively in taking care of a parent or another relative.

A family meeting sounds simple enough, right? But getting everyone to the table, or on the couch can take a little coercing. So…in the spirit of leading my family, I got everyone together to have our first “official” family meeting (well not first, but first of this kind).

Before we began I set some very simple ground rules, such as respect and how to participate, and I limited the agenda to two main topics. I am happy to say, we completed our family meeting successfully, and most importantly, came up with some solutions that helped everyone feel included.
And in the midst of it all, I learned a valuable lesson on the importance of leading the way.

Leadership Tip:
When I Lead my family successfully, all family members feel included.