Words of Hope: Secret Sauce

One of the best skills Dad gave our family was the family meeting. Before an event, this meeting time was crucial to outline the expectations of the family and each other. Dad knew unfulfilled expectations were one of the main reasons for anger and frustration. How can we create a family trip or special time without getting frustrated with each other? Dad would start with the big dream—what are a few things we wanted to happen on the trip? What qualities do we need to live out to make this a good experience? What are some specific ways we can love and serve each other? I believe the secret sauce of these great family meets was that they were fun, short, and all about self-responsibility.

Dad and Mom removed blame from the discussion. My Dad would say, “I know I struggle being present, and I want to show my love for you all by putting down the phone. What are some other ways you would like me to be present?” We might tell him we want him to play a game with us or let’s watch a movie together. His self-responsible leadership set the tone for each of us to be self-responsible. Dad delivered many powerful lessons in a short amount of time. Appropriate listening, willingness to name the frustration as the beloved other would name it, creative ways to fix the issue, and willingness to be proactive rather than reactive. Pre-planning our times together helped eliminate much of the frustration before it started. If we did fall into irritation, we could use our personal goals and expectations of ourselves to get back on track.

Just like a glorious gourmet meal requires careful planning and a helpful recipe, a good family experience requires the extra work to ensure everyone comes together with unity and peace.

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” – Hebrews 12: 14