In order for the family to unify it is important to understand the wants and needs of everyone involved. Everyone should have the opportunity to voice their own opinion, have their needs met, and feel valued. In the book Counseling with Our Counsels, Elder Ballard talks about what a quorum of 12 counsel is like. If we use their example as a guide, I believe we can utilize family counsel and develop stronger, more organized families.
“Let me share with you a typical experience in a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve. They always work from an agenda. The agenda is distributed to each member of the Twelve the night before the meeting so that they have an opportunity to read, ponder, and consider each item in preparation for the meeting. When they meet together they usually express love and concern for one another. After an opening prayer, in which a request is made for the Spirit to be in the meeting, the President of the Twelve addresses each item on the agenda one by one. He may make some short preparatory comments that he feels is necessary concerning the item, and then he presents the item or asks one of the Twelve to present the item for discussion.
The Brethren express their thoughts and feelings. They are men of strong character, men from different backgrounds–they are certainly not “yes” men. They speak as they are moved by the Spirit. They strive to feel the manifestations of the Spirit concerning the item being discussed, which may necessitate a change in their own feelings and thoughts in order to be in harmony with the entire Council. When the PResident of the Twelve senses a unity taking place concerning the item on the agenda, he may ask for a recommendation, or one of the Twelve may present a recommendation to the Twelve. THe recommendation remarkably summarizes the feelings of the total Council. The President will then state, “We have before us a recommendation. Is there any further discussion?” Each member of the Twelve will have an opportunity again to express himself. They don’t repeat what has already been said; rather. there is an unusual economy of expression in order to ascertain the total views of the Council. After all who have a desire to speak have done so, the recommendation may be modified. The recommendation is then presented to the form of a motion by a member of the Twelve, and is seconded by another. The President of the Twelve then asks for the vote of the Quorum; thus, the Twelve make decisions in harmony, unity, and faith, with the combined judgement of each member and in harmony with the Spirit.”
I was impressed with the example of the brethren. Imagine trying to get twelve very different people to agree on the exact same thing unanimously, on multiple topics. I love that they rely on the Spirit to help them come to make their decisions.
My children are still young but, my husband and I counsel together on behalf of our family. We start out with a prayer then we discuss any issues that need to be addressed, each child and their needs (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, ect.), and make plans for our family (vacations, whats going on in the near future, ect.).
I think our little family counsels could be improved by following the example of the Twelve and not leaving an issue until there is unity on the decision. I also think would do well to implement an agenda. If we made a list of items to discuss and gave it thought before the actual meeting, I believe we would get a lot more accomplished.
While I was growing up my dad held a Father’s counsel. During this counsel, each of us kids would take a turn to go talk to my dad one on one. We were able to discuss anything we wanted. It was a really neat experience for me. I learned things about my dad that I wouldn’t have otherwise. And I told him things that I probably wouldn’t have. It is a tradition that I cherish from my childhood.
Here is a great article to read on the four types of Family Counsel to have; General Family Counsel, Executive Family Counsel, Limited Counsel, and One-on-one Counsel. (It even comes with a super cute agenda print out.)
Strong Families quote: