All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Family Council

Family Council 1All I really need to know I learned in Family Council.

Wait.  You mean, Kindergarten, right?  All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten. Isn’t that how the phrase goes?

Nope.  Everything really need to know I learned in Family Council.  Let me explain with a flashback to my childhood.

First of all, family councils have been happening forever, right? Well in theory, yes, but the real emphasis came in the 1970s. In fact, in October 1976 a special edition of the Ensignmagazine admonished Church members to hold regular family councils.  Church pamphlets and stake conference messages in 1977 furthered the direction to organize families and keep records.  My parents, who live the gospel to the letter, held their first family council in August of 1977 (when I was just four years old) and they’ve held family council once a month on every Fast Sunday since then.

Not only did my parents start holding family council regularly, they also organized our family into four focus areas:  Family History, Missionary Work, Personal and Family Preparedness, and Home Education and Activities.  Kind of like the three missions of the church, only they were the four missions of our family.

And, they took family organization even further and gave us all assignments as committee chairmen and members of these focus areas.  Remember it was 1977, and I was four years old. My Dad called me in for a Personal Priesthood Interview and asked me to serve as our Family Missionary Chairman.

In true four-year-old fashion I immediately responded, “Nope.  I don’t want to be the Missionary Chairman.”  I’m sure Dad was surprised, but he remained calm and explained what exciting things a Family Missionary Chairman would do.  I decided to accept the call.  So, there you have it.  One of the first things I learned through family council was to accept callings and responsibility.  And I’ve been accepting them ever since. Continue reading


Family Calendaring: One Key to a GREAT Year

Last week we held FRANCIS FAMILY FROLICS. What’s Family Frolics, you ask? It’s our annual family planning conference.

All successful businesses and organizations make an annual plan–and our families should, too! Remembering the past, calendaring for the future, and setting goals are all keys to a meaningful and productive year.

Our planning sessions (Family Frolics) are simple. They generally have three elements:

-Remember the past (record favorite happenings from the previous year),

-Establish a Vision (set goals for the new year), and

-Formulate a Plan (create a calendar).

Here are a few more practices we use for each of the 3 steps above:

REMEMBER THE PAST: We have a fun family discussion while we eat or drive, and make a list of all of our favorite happenings in the past year. I record at least one or two for each of us in our family binder. I also ask our married/away from home kids to send me their top 2 memories so I can record those as well.

ESTABLISH A VISION: At another sitting (a different meal, car ride, or family meeting) we each set 2 goals for the new year. Again, I type or write as the children talk. We also look back at family minutes from the previous year and see how they did on their former goals. Of course, we set smaller monthly goals as individuals, but these “big” yearly goals are the main focus of our family frolics discussion.

FORMULATE A PLAN: Calendaring is one of our favorite parts of family frolics. We spread a physical calendar (one sheet for each month) out over the kitchen table and use crayons, markers, etc. to color in all of the major family holidays/birthdays, etc. Then we pencil in dates we already know about, like school vacations, family trips, or Dad’s meetings. These calendars are then bound or stored for the year. We review and refine each monthly calendar at our monthly family council and post it on the wall, but this beginning of the year layout gives us a good visual blueprint for what lies ahead.

That’s it! Simple, right? Yes. Family Frolics is as easy (or as complex) as you make it. We generally spread out the 3 major tasks on 3 different days, so our youngsters won’t burn out on calendaring and discussions. Then, mingled amongst our planning, we PLAY!

This year we embarked on a cross-country adventure, a first! Now that we no longer have babies, we felt that all of our kids could survive on skis, and we were right!


We had a blast enjoying the beautiful Utah mountains, and the adventure was a perfect memory during Francis Family Frolics.

Check out my Vlog for more tips on holding your own fun Family Frolics.