Continuing my efforts to urge parents to hold formal family meetings.  The best way to start is with some family fun meetings such as planning the Family Dream Vacation

Remember, a meeting is any get together involving two people and at least one with an agenda.  One adult wanting some fun time with one child is a meeting, but an informal one.  Announcing the meeting ahead of time turns informal meetings into formal meetings.  The announcement can be made an hour ahead of the meeting or days ahead.


Most of you have some sort of family fun event for New Year’s Eve.  If not, you may want to start with a Family Dream Vacation Exercise.  (Thank you friend Pamela Smithbell for this idea.

Dreaming Exercises are useful for getting  family member to talk about hopes.  However, such exercises should not stop there. Dreams are castles in the air and the dreamers have to build a stairway up to the dream.  Doing so requires turning a dream into an attainable goal.

Denis Waitley author and chairman of psychology for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Council noted:  “The reason most people don’t reach their goals is that they don’t define them, learn about them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.”

Family meetings can teach all how to use the SMART goal process in efforts to turn dreams into realities.  SMART GOALS are Specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and time framed. Here is how that would be applied to planning a family vacation:

S = Specfic = Not “We want to have a great time,” but “We want to go where the sun shines on an ocean beach, people speak our language, the temperature doesn’t dip below 70 degrees and  there are several family fun activities, Mom doesn’t want to have to cook and Dad wants to play a bit of golf.

M = Measurable = Almost everything cited above is measurable.  Even “fun” can be measured by using a rating scale of  1 is no fun; 10 the best fun of my life.

A = Action based = This involves listing all the steps needed to reach your goal.  Family Vacation Planning: doing so starts with the dream, then figuring where all the family dreams will best be met, then investigating costs and out how much will be needed and how far the family budget will stretch, revising dreams to fit the budget, and then making the concrete plans for the vacation.

R = Realistic = If the nearest warm beach is half a continent away and air fare is $499 round trip per person and your family is already having trouble paying the mortgage, your dream vacation is not realistic at least at the moment. Goal setting experts also suggest rating motivation using a 1 to 10 scale. 10 = will do everything necessary to reach the goal. 1 is the goal is not yours and unrealistic. Any rating below 6 is questionable and family vacation plans individual ratings should average to at  least a five. Those with the higher motivation should do most of the work.

T = Time based  =  Vacations are usually planned for specific times: when school is out or parents work allow for planning a vacation time. But time also has other meanings. For example, the further ahead you make reservations, the better you chances of getting what you want at a price you can afford.  Each action step needs a time frame.

But one can also develop a time frame for this using the Family Dream Vacation Exercise as a basis for future family meetings.  First meeting: hearing the dreams; second meeting: exploring various vacation plans and options with each family member  charged to bring at least one  pamphlet or flier  about their dream vacation to the next; third meeting: checking costs; fourth meeting: adjusting plans to meet reality needs; and so on.


Tip one: Put it in writing. Following the SMART goal outline describe goal in 250 words.
Tip two: Hold another Family Dream Vacation meeting. Read the goal and then have the family finding a short slogan reflecting the Family’s Dream Vacation. Spend the rest of the meeting making collage about Family’s Dream Vacation. Make sure the slogan is included and post the finished collage the Family Bulletin Board aka as the family refrigerator by some.

Tip three: Meet regularly to report on progress.   Report progress using 1 to 10 scale: 1 no progress, 10 goal met. Rate satisfaction with efforts using on 1 to 10 scale efforts: 1 no effort: 10 above and beyond. This can become part of the agenda for other formal family meetings. 

Tip four: If you do not hold regular family meetings, make doing so one of your New Years Resolution.  Even one family fun event meeting a month, with a bit of business is better than none.

If you have not been holding formal family meetings or have tried them and been unhappy with the results my book How to Hold a Successful Family Meeting is available both in a paper back edition and as an E-book. Click here to order.



Family meetings are a major tool for helping all in a family stay strong.  They are particularly helpful in preparing children for life in the outside world. A harder life than the world within loving families.  

Emotional Fitness Exercises are another way to stay strong, so, here is my thank you gift if you have just started following me.   It is a free guide to the Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises. These are easy to learn, easy to practice and helpful to anyone dealing with life’s stresses and every day problems.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day,  stay strong, never weaken, give lots of love to others and to yourself, be grateful, practice kindness, live now, give and seek forgiveness, and always hope  the blessing of the forces beyond our control are with you and those you love.


DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.

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