In the interest of complete transparency, I was really dreading this review. I have tried family meetings before with less than stellar results, so I wasn't particularly looking forward to another failed attempt. When the journal came in the mail, I immediately handed it over to my husband and told him to take the reins on this one.
Let me tell ya . . . he did a jam up job! The experience was a timely reminder that God has thoroughly equipped my husband as spiritual leader and head of the family. He is so much better at this type of thing than I am.
What is The Family Journal?
There are three sections:
- Yearly Family Goals
- Monthly Family Goals
- Weekly Meeting Planner
It is extremely versatile and well organized for quick and easy access to the various sections.
The Family Journal isn't just a planner or journal. It's a guide that helps make family time easy and enjoyable. You don't have to worry about where to begin, what to do, or what to talk about—you just open the book and go!
The first part of the journal takes you step-by-step through creating a mission statement for your family. That may seem like a daunting task, but the individual guiding questions in the journal actually make it quite easy.
Next, the journal guides you through creating yearly goals and then breaking those goals down into more easily attainable steps. It encourages you to focus on both the needs of the family unit and the individual needs of each member. There is ample space on each of the pages to record everything.
The weekly meeting pages are (in my opinion at least) the best part of the entire book. These are what guide you through the sit-down time each week. The Family Journal makes this time FUN and ENGAGING! It's really is amazing. There are tons of discussion questions and prompts throughout that help families focus on appreciating each other and all of the blessings God has placed within our lives. There are also lots of fun activities sprinkled throughout that help everyone relax and make family meetings feel less like a meeting and more like just hanging out.
As I mentioned before, I gave The Family Journal to my husband and asked him to be in charge of using it and making sure that the weekly family meetings happened. He chose to start with a week in the book that he felt would be the most fun for us as a family rather than just starting at the beginning.
For one of the meetings, we spent some time talking about our goals both as individuals and as a family. We wrote down the goals and talked about how we could each encourage each other to meet those goals. Then each week we went back over the goals to find out how everyone was doing—were we on track, were we all encouraging each other as we should, how could we improve?
During all of our meetings, there was something super fun to do. One week we each took turns saying one word to build a story. It was the craziest, silliest story ever! Another week, my husband put together a treasure hunt for the kids with clues that sent them all over the house trying to find the prize—a night out to have sushi! YUM!
I asked my husband to share his thoughts since he was the one to actually use The Family Journal each week. Here is what he shared:
- I love that it's not dated, so it's good for any time.
- I love that each week is mapped out with ideas to get you talking as a family.
- It helps you stay on track with goals and refer back to them, all in one place.
- The connection ideas are great and very engaging. There are plenty of ideas that you can use as they are, or as inspiration!
- Two key things that make this journal exceptional are the gratitude section and the assists. It challenges you to think about what is good in your lives and to serve one another.
- It has a large font for easy reading, but still leaves plenty of room to write without making the journal bulky and hard to handle.
- Even though it's hardcover, it lays flat! It's not bulky and curved where the pages meet, which makes it very easy to write in.
- My only suggestion would be to offer a softcover option.