Thursday, May 19, 2016

Family Councils

 What is a family council?
they are primarily a meeting at which parents listen—to each other and to their children.

What is the purpose of a family council?
A family council, when conducted with love and with Christlike attributes, will counter the impact of modern technology that often distracts us from spending quality time with each other and also tends to bring evil right into our homes.

The Church pamphlet entitled Our Family states, “This council can meet to discuss family problems, work out finances, make plans, support and strengthen [each other], and pray for one another and for the family unit.”

A family council that is patterned after the councils in heaven, filled with Christlike love, and guided by the Lord’s Spirit will help us to protect our family from distractions that can steal our precious time together and protect us from the evils of the world.

Finally, please remember that a family council held regularly will help us spot family problems early and nip them in the bud; councils will give each family member a feeling of worth and importance; and most of all they will assist us to be more successful and happy in our precious relationships, within the walls of our homes. May our Heavenly Father bless all of our families as we counsel together is my humble prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Problems to discuss in family councils-

Packer: Every priesthood member could treat his spouse better
Chad letter
Kent’s family council
End of life family council
Family council with a 2 year old

Who would be willing to try a family council?

Actually, when the two horses were hitched together they managed to pull a sled weighing 33,000 pounds— more than four times the amount each could pull individually!


My sister and I were never particularly close. Mom died (an only child) 12 years ago, Dad remarried a woman with 4 kids (whole other story) and moved to Florida leaving us to care for our grandparents. Gramma was the strong one, Grampa has always been like a little boy. When Gramma, at age 85 developed cancer my sister and I decided to take charge. Gramma was relieved.

We took turns taking her for treatment, got Grampa's driving privileges revoked (long overdue) and were with them every single day until she died in my arms in January 2003. Not one day went by that my sister and I didn't call each other to update on the day's events with them both. We sent each other cards, bought each other little gifts, just to let the other know how much she was appreciated. Now we are dealing with a 91 year old man, who is incontinent, deaf, suffering from dementia, and is really a pain in the rear. But he's our Grampa, and helped raise us and we really love him. It's our turn to take care of him.

We both applied to the court for co-guardianship and co-conservatorship. We had to forcefully move him to assisted living where we still visit every day. Every move we make has to be decided together. When we moved him we had to clean out a house that was worth a lot of money, but hadn't been cleaned or updated in 35 years. My sister wanted the dining room set, no problem, take it. I wanted the photo albums, no problem, take it. We are both named in the will, but I think sharing the responsibility of the personal care of our grandparents has brought us closer and made us realize that things are just things. As long as we remain a team. If I die first, she gets the photo albums. If she dies first I get the dining set.


Living in a small country town has its advantages but one disadvantage is the mud in the spring.

In an attempt to keep the mud outside the house, I planned to spread gravel on my dirt driveway. I had 60 tons of gravel brought in and left in two piles, which looked even bigger when I stood in front of them. In our town, people commonly have big trucks, trailers, tractors, front loaders, and backhoes. Me? I’m the guy with a shovel and a wheelbarrow.

I asked Rory, my 15-year-old son, if he would come out and help. He wasn’t the picture of enthusiasm, but he agreed. Soon after he and I started working, I was surprised when my nine-year-old daughter wanted to help too. She took the rake and spread the gravel enthusiastically. She seemed to enjoy being with her big brother and me. I didn’t know how long she would last, but I would let her help while she was willing.

Then my five-year-old son came running out to help. He grabbed a plastic toy shovel and tried to take individual scoops to the driveway. He eventually found his toy dump truck and began a cycle of filling the truck, pushing it to the driveway, and dumping it. Finally he found a shovel with a broken handle and helped Rory and me fill the wheelbarrow. He was more in the way than he was helpful, but his energy was inspiring. I was impressed.

Rory was the real surprise that day. He was a teenager whose world was getting larger than the one his dad used to fill. I had never had any real problems with him, but he was no longer the little boy who would hold my hand and chatter as we walked. His world now included many activities and friends that took him outside the home. We still enjoyed each other’s company but found it harder to spend time together. I wouldn’t have guessed that moving gravel would facilitate openness between us, but on that day it did just that.

As we shoveled, each to our own rhythm, Rory started talking. At first we discussed the job at hand, but then the talk turned to other things that were on his mind. We discussed music that he was interested

As we worked together, blisters grew on my hands, but they were just a reminder of the sweet time I spent with my children.

As we talked we filled the wheelbarrow, and then I would lift the load, wheel it to a bare spot, and dump it. I was pleasantly surprised when Rory followed me during these short intervals in order to keep up the conversation. I am pretty sure he didn’t know how much his willingness to talk meant to me. I tried not to let on. His talking so freely to me didn’t happen every day. As we worked, blisters formed on my hands, but they were just a reminder of the sweet time I spent with my children, especially my oldest son.

Across the street a young construction contractor was building his house. While I was working, he was using a front loader to push the earth around the foundation of his home. It would have taken 20 minutes to get our job done with his powerful machine, but I was afraid he was going to come over and offer to help. I would have looked foolish turning down his help, but accepting it would have robbed me of the unexpected experience I was having with my chil- dren. Toward the end of the job, when I was exhausted, I wasn’t sorry. My children were still there and were still talking to me. Manually moving that gravel was the sweetest hard work I had ever done.