I fondly remember the hours I spent at my grandmother’s kitchen table. Stories repeated, laughs shared, memories brought to life, as she unintentionally imparted wisdom. From her I learned the secrets of hospitality, the rewards of perseverance, the concept of committed love. Not because she had an agenda that she felt compelled to share, but because she had a captive audience (let’s face it, she was old). Soaps blaring in the background, Club crackers and coke within reach, we engaged for hours as I listened to her relive the past.

We’re missing out on that these days. No need to state the obvious factors contributing to “why”. So, here at the MOAT, we’re bringing the kitchen time on-line with Table Talks.

This week, Dottie Jones, a Dallas favorite for rich words of wisdom in raising a family and running an efficient home, pulls up a chair to share some thoughts on making changes at home through Family Meetings and defining “purpose.”

Thoughts from Dottie Jones:

When implementing a change in your household, the best place to start is a family meeting. Family meetings are a great vehicle to encourage “team playing” and solidify that not only are you working together as a unit (no one is alone), but also that each member has a voice that matters. Family meetings on a regular basis offer a terrific tool to take the pulse on what’s working well and what needs attention.

But before a meeting takes place, a few things need to take place. The parents should be on the same page. This means discussing things before a meeting is even scheduled. Make sure you run everything by your husband. Communication is key and avoiding surprises is always a good idea. Next, let the kids know when you’ll be meeting and what you plan on discussing. This gives them time to gather their own thoughts and shows your respect for them.

For this week – don’t worry about the goals. Let the goals come later. At the beginning of change, the key is defining the game plan … getting the kids to define their purpose in life. By doing this, the goals (or actions … like tidy rooms/bathrooms) can be brought into perspective as it relates to their purpose, not just an edict from the top. Help the kids understand that the “purpose” is why we do what we do, the “goals” are how we do it.

When you have your first family meeting, it will be important to talk about everyone’s individual purposes first. Don’t be disappointed when their purpose might differ from what you would propose. For example when your teen proudly blurts out his purpose in life is to drive a luxury vehicle and own a huge home, don’t try to redefine a more palatable, service-related purpose. You can’t expect your kids to come to where you are in life. Let them be where they are. They can’t possibly, in their vast teen wisdom, know what you know about life. So, you go to them. Then, you can help peel back the layers of fluff and get the heart of what it takes to own those things – yes, that would be hard work, perseverance, direction, the list goes on.

Before the meeting is over it will be important to come up with a FAMILY PURPOSE so everyone is working together. Remember in teamwork – everyone wins or everyone loses. Each child may have a different “individual purpose” at this point in his or her life and that is okay. But the definition of the “Family Purpose” should be started. This purpose will drive all decision-making from here on out.

See you next time for Teamwork and Goals.

THANKS so much for sharing with us, Dottie! If you have any questions for Dottie, feel free to post it below in “Comments”. Look for Dottie’s wisdom on Teamwork & Goals next week.

As always, thanks for walking the road with me.

{If you ask Dottie Jones what she does, she will tell you that she is first a wife, then a mother, and as time permits an author, speaker and Co-Founder of Life Ministries and Ministering to Moms. Dottie happily shares her wisdom and insight through various classes to mothers on topic ranging from “Building Family Teamwork” to “Managing Meals & Messes”. These are offered at her home. For more information. She can be reached at Life Ministries, 10110 Laingtree Drive, Dallas, Tx 75243. Or by phone: 972.699.7026.}

(A quick side note, Dottie and her husband Rick would greatly appreciate your prayers for her family as their son Doug (and his platoon of 40 men) will be heading to Afghanistan in April.)

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