TOTW: "Family Councils," by Elder Ballard

this week's Talk of the Week was by Elder M. Russell Ballard, entitled "Family Councils," you can read, watch, or listen to it

here

this is an image from lds.org of a ward council, however, look at the lady in the green-- a little bit of ASL?? go team go.

Elder Ballard's talk was one of my favorites this general conference. i love the idea of Family Councils and was reminded of my own family's planning time each week growing up. however, we did our planning time right before Family Home Evenings on mondays because that was what worked for our family.

i was also reminded of the planning sessions and discussion time i had with my roommates my freshman year of college. i had different sets of roommates (with the exception of one girl) each semester and we had a "family council" of sorts each week. In these councils, i learned to be more open about my frustrations than i was before, but i also learned to be more compassionate and forgiving-- however, this was (and still is) definitely a learning process for me. 

lastly, this talk reminded me of Weekly Planning and Companionship Inventory as a missionary. the organized part of my brain LOVVVVVVED weekly planning. the shy part of my brain hated companionship inventory. during weekly planning sessions, we would go through our entire week and plan it out. we would set goals for ourselves, our companionship, our investigators, our finding-- just about everything. we would also set appointments, plan out what we would do during our spare time (finding opportunities, service opportunities, meet with less active members or recent converts, etc.) we would also pray about and plan which lessons to teach each investigator. after all of these tasks were completed, we would hold a companionship inventory where we would seek to help one another with personal goals. we would also discuss any problems that needed to be fixed in the companionship that hadn't previously been fixed earlier in the week. one of my best experiences with companionship inventory was the last week of the longest transfer of my mission (literally it was eight weeks long instead of the normal six week transfer) my companion and i had been successful as missionaries but couldn't quite figure out the whole friend part of being companions. on the last week of being together, we finally talked through everything. once we understood one another, we became friends quickly. but it was the last week before transfer calls. that next week we found out we were being transferred. it was a huge bummer, but after that i truly realized the importance of just talking about what needs to be fixed WHEN you feel it should be fixed. (don't misunderstand, we still had SO MANY fun times together, but i think they would have been more enjoyable had we hashed all that junk out at the beginning) 

a few of my favorite quotes from Elder Ballard:

"I believe councils are the most effective way to get results..... Family councils have always been needed."

"it is critical that we understand the unique circumstances of each family member. Though we may share DNA, there may be situations and circumstances among us that may make us vastly different from each other..."

"When council members feel they are part of a decision, they become supporters and specific positive results can be accomplished."

"Everyone can adapt a family council to take advantage of this divine pattern established by our loving Heavenly Father."

"You may want to consider holding the general family council on Sunday... This may be exactly what your family needs to help make the Sabbath a delightful experience."

"The executive family council is also a good time for wives and husbands to talk about their personal relationships with one another."

"Children desperately need parents to listen to them..."

there were so many other quotes that i absolutely loved from this talk, but as i was reading it, i noticed one of my favorite words when it comes to scripture: WILL. I LOVE the word will because that means that it is a promise from God if we do our part. 

an example of will promises from this talk: 

"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." (emphasis added)

Elder Ballard didn't say these things MIGHT happen, he said they WILL happen. promises like this get me so excited. there were many more will promises within this talk, i invite you to look for them as you read or listen to Elder Ballard's talk again. 

family councils truly are an eternal principle. i am grateful for the pattern of councils that has been set in my own life and I hope to be able to continue such a pattern in my own little family because i have witnessed the miracles and blessings that DO come from counseling with others. friendships can be strengthened, goals can be achieved, and families come closer together. i know it, because i have personally experienced this. 

our next Talk of the Week will be from the General Women's Meeting, Sister Neill F. Marriott's talk, "What Shall We Do?" you can read, watch, or listen to Sister Marriott's talk

here

(little preview, this talk is also mentioned in an upcoming blog post for my Mother's Day series! i definitely recommend reading this talk!)