Sometimes, no matter how diligently parents try to teach their children and unify their families, they are met with opposition.
Sunday Evening 1986
“It’s time for family council,” said Dad, as usual one Sunday evening.
“How long is it going to take?” “We hate family council!” “Urgh!” “I’m tired. Can I go to bed?” said child after child in the Pond home when the call for the meeting came.
Dad tried not to listen to the complaints as he and Mom gathered the children for their family council meeting. It’s a meeting designed to help unify the family and spread a feeling of love to all family members; a meeting held to help children feel the concern their parents have for them.
No sooner had the family finally gathered for this planning, problem-solving meeting, than the children started disengaging from the family. Eyes rolled and lips tightened. Children sprawled on the ground and hid under blankets and behind couches.
Mr. and Mrs. Pond dreaded this kind of behavior from their children. They began holding these meetings because they hoped to deliberately unite the hearts of the family and improve communication, while also eliminating the bad behaviors. But it didn’t seem to be working.
Week after tireless week they tried to hold family council. They tried to avoid ending in a family fight. But the children were so disrespectful that by the end of the meeting their well-meaning parents had to rein them in by using sharp voices. Mr. and Mrs. Pond were disappointed that they had to repeatedly raise their voices to their children. And they were disheartened by their children’s open rejection of family council, which was designed to unify the family.
Hope From The Present
Years passed and the children grew up. They had children of their own, and guess what they did? They started family meetings (councils) with their families too.
The parents in this story were my parents, and I was the worst of the Pond children complaining about family councils back in those days.
My parents were blessed with extremely strong-willed children. Each child went on to become a strong parent and a good person, loving God and willingly serving others. My parents tried their best. And despite their imperfections and the occasional hard hearts of the children, the message got through — the message that family was most important, and the message that good communication was key to strong relationships.
I can remember my parents talking to me and correcting me. I would act like I didn’t hear them and like I didn’t care. The truth is I did listen. I knew they were right. I was just stubborn and didn’t want to show them that I knew they were right. This stubbornness has paid off in all the lives of the Pond children, even though it was a stumbling block for some of us at first.
What a blessing that our parents kept trying to unify the family amid the protests and attitude problems. When strong-willed people recognize truth, they go toward it and don’t turn back. That’s why it’s essential to make sure strong-willed children are parented with honesty instead of manipulation, and with deliberate consistency instead of haphazardly, to teach cause and effect instead of emotionally driven punishments.
All parents, even those who diligently do what they know they should do to raise great children and who constantly work on becoming better themselves, will sometimes meet resistance or even rebellion. But the hearts of children can always be touched. Even if they don’t always show it, they will recognize the truth of what their parents are doing and saying. Calm, confident parents are a voice of truth to their children. Sure, the parents might not be perfect, but their intentions and their hearts will be felt by their offspring. They will create a lifelong impression, even if they don’t see the positive results immediately.
There is hope. Don’t give up. Keep having family meetings and keep correcting your children with love and kindness. They will eventually honor your name and follow your examples.
Nicholeen teaches how to run an effective family meeting in the book “Parenting A House United”.