The Family Council organization structure can be as formal as works for you. Our councils were based on the administration and mission tasks outlined in the standard agenda and as explained here. A family council (FC) agenda help focus on members on critical and important task for individual and family growth. A proposed standard agenda is outline and discussed in FC Operations. We have used this agenda for over 40 years but you can modify it to suit you situation. The important thing is to have an agenda to make the time together meaningful and productive. We have already alluded to two of the staff jobs in the Family Council The executive secretary which can rotated very successfully among the children. The executive secretary gathers agenda items and conducts the meetings using a standard agenda outline under the direction of the parent(s) or presiding officer(s). The secretary who takes minutes The secretary’s minutes provide insight into the successes and failures of ideas, plans and programs of the family and its members plus accountability. The minutes makes sure that no item or concern gets lost. They reinforce positive behavior and provide for continuing family support. (Tip: Minutes can be summary in nature with topic, discussion results and assignments or reports.) The Family Council like any organization works best when each member participates. We have found that giving members specific staff tasks/responsibilities or "callings" in the Family Council helps both family and individual buy into supporting the family. Of course as in all jobs there is need for training. (Tip: Define the job to the age level and capability of the person.) The number of callings or jobs can be expanded or contracted based on family size. A child could have more than one task but experience has shown more than two is too much. The callings we have used are listed: Executive Secretary Secretary/clerk Family Preparedness Director Prayer assigner Gardener Manager Pet Manager Recreation Director Mission leader Family History Director Letter Director Special events Chairmen Accountant/Budget/Finance Manager ( See expanded Job descriptions detailed.) There are many additional "Callings or Jobs" that could be part of the family council depending on the number of children and their ages. A number of our friends have "Called" family members to: Coordinator missionary service, service activities, work on family genealogy, maintain the family history including pictures. Be the sanitation engineer, landscape architect and gardener, manage the family finances, be the energy conservationist or the recreation leader. Note: when the children leave these jobs must still be done by couples, single adults. But while they are with the family efforts can be multiplied! Be creative! Making "The Call to Serve" There are many ways to call or ask family members to serve. We found following the order of the Church in calling a person works very well in Family Councils. It is important that the executive council- father, mother and God agree on the callings before members are called. We,the parents, "Call" family members to serve in a personal interview. This gives the parents the time to discuss the job, provide some training and answer any questions. The important point is that "Callings" help the family member know they are a critical part the family because each week the family looks to them for direction in one phase or part of family life. Note: Some of our friends "set the family members apart" to their callings again following the order of the Church. Generally, callings in our family are for six months to one year - long enough to become proficient and productive in the job at a particular age level. The calling should always be designed to match the age and capability of the child. The "Calls" once made are then announced in Family Council. You can be less formal and ask members to serve as part of the council meeting. But, it is critical that family members sustain/support one another in their calls. Note, Over the years, in our home the children have served in each calling several times. It has been interest to note the difference that maturity and insight makes as they serve in the same calling several times. Training for the Job It is important that a family members knows what is expect in the job or calling. Use a job description to go over the tasks with the person at the time they are called can work very well. Also discuss desired goals that could to be accomplished during the family member's tenure in office. Get their ideas as well. This orientation allows the person to see and review his or her contribution during the tenure in office and at the time of the release. Some callings require On-the-job training as well, like the executive secretary, gardener and accountant. Most jobs require developing life skills in communication, group dynamics etc. Over time family members will watch other members act in their calling and this example also helps when it is their time to assume the role. Both father and mother need to help in these training functions. Some of our friends have held special family activities to train council members. The Larry Taylor Family has held a special Saturday morning leadership training to train Family Council members in their duties. They have also involved Church members to help them. Ward specialist such as the ward mission leader and a family history specialist were asked to train family member in current programs and skills in family research.
The key is teaching the children their duty and then let them act in the calling in all diligence. Do not do it for them. Note: We like a child to experience some jobs based on age. For example, at 17 we have them help manage the family budget during their last year in high school to really see how to budget and manage a family income works.