Many years ago I was asked to speak at a homeschool conference. My topic was on the organization and time management of my homeschool. I sat and tried to prepare, but it wasn’t working for me and I realized that because if you want to build something you first have to have a strong foundation.
I ended up scratching my whole topic and decided to give principles of building a strong foundation and helping you live a balanced life. My husband came up with FEMPSS, and that is what I based my whole presentation on. I have since used it as a way to set my goals, what subjects my children are learning, how we parent, and I have even used it in homeschool co-op classes to teach kids how to be an adult.
Are you dying to know what FEMPSS stands for? They stand for:
Financial * Emotional * Mental * Physical * Social * Spiritual
We picked these six different principles to help anyone live a balanced life because if one of these are off, then it effects other areas of your life.
I will go through each of them and how we use them in our FAMILY MEETING.
Each week we go through all of these. Sometimes we take a lot of time, and other times we quickly skim over them. It just depends on what each kid is working on. We also use these as a way for our kids to learn principles and then allow them to govern themselves. I will do a whole post on Levels of Liberty, and how we have our kids pass off different skills, so that they can have more liberties. It is seriously the best thing ever, so I am incredibly excited to share it.
With each item in our FEMPSS we have an end goal of where we would like our kids to be. I will give you some ideas of what our goals are, but it doesn’t mean that they need to be your same goals; they are just to give you ideas. A lot of the goals we have are there to help our kids to create positive habits, so that they can have a better life.
Also, this is a living document. Meaning that it can change and adapt with each child.
My husband is a financial guru. Thank goodness because I am the worst when it comes to finances. Not because I overspend, but because I would live like a pauper. I didn’t come into our marriage with great habits with finances, but luckily my husband has made it his career, and he is a huge help in this area. A book he recommended to me to start understanding some principles with money is Richest Man in Babylon. Great book.
One of the principles in the book is to pay your self first. We encourage our kids to first pay 10% of what they make to the Lord, then 10% to their savings, and then live off the 80% of what they have left.
We also encourage our kids to have at least $2500 saved up in their long-term savings by the time they graduate High School.
The final habit we are teaching our kids with finances, is to track their spending because when you track your spending, you control it.
During family meeting we make sure the kids’ finances are up to date. Check to see how they are doing on their spending, and go over anything else that someone may need help with.
Shameless plug, if you need financial help from the best check out my husband’s site HERE.
I don’t know about you, but for me I was not taught anything on how to deal with my emotions. This is one that I’ve spent a lot of time studying so then I can turn around and teach it to me kids.
Our goal is for our kids to have tools so they know what to do with strong emotions. How to feel them, process them, and eventually let the negative ones go. We also want our kids to take responsibility for their emotions, meaning that they control how they respond to any situation instead of letting a situation control them.
During family meeting this is where we would help teach some tools to the kids. If the little boys had been fighting during the week, we would break it down and teach them better ways to deal with their anger or frustrations.
This is also a great time to look at your own shortcomings. During our family meeting before Thanksgiving we talked about how I would be anxious getting the house ready for Thanksgiving. It was interesting. I had been upfront that I would want the house a certain way, so there wasn’t contention when I had everyone helping get it ready. Then during the next family meeting I was able to thank them for being patient with me. Example truly is the best teacher.
I find it amusing that as we go through life that we encourage children to learn and to grown, but then stop once we’ve become an adult. The mental category is where we encourage them to all continue to grow and develop.
Some of the goals we have for our kids are to complete their schoolwork on time, maintain a B or higher, master an instrument or subject, and to constantly be learning.
This one is my favorite because I love being active. I believe that everyone has one of the FEMPSS that speak to them more than the others, and if you can get yours on track, then the other ones will more easily fall into place. Mine is physical. When my physical life is in a groove, I do a much better job at getting in a groove with the rest.
Some of the things in physical are: exercise 4-5 times a week, be able to cook five dinners and three breakfasts, taking care of your own hygiene, and eating treats of any type in moderation.
The exercise doesn’t have to be intense. My girls don’t love exercising, so we encourage them to find something they can do just to be active. It could be taking a walk, going on a bike ride, or some yoga. We don’t care what it is; we just want our kids in the habit of moving their bodies.
Hygiene is one that we have to talk about more with the younger kids. Their skill they are currently working on is brushing, flossing, using mouthwash without reminders, and combing their hair. Then, as they get older we include things like showering everyday, shaving, deodorant, and just generally taking care of themselves.
The social category is a mix of knowing how to manage your time on social media, balance how much time is spent with friends, and learning skills of how to interact with other humans.
Only a few of our kids have a social media account, so we work with them on not going to bed with their phone, to avoid checking out instead of dealing with a problem, and appropriate ways to post on social media.
Some of our kids would hang out with friends from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed. We also have kids that would never go out with friends. This is where we individualize it and encourage our homebody kids to get out at least a few times a month and our social butterflies to be content with not going out everyday.
We also work on different social principles. I really like the book How To Win Friends And Influence People and I use that as a reference to teach some of our skills.
The habits that we’re trying to help our kids to create is to read their scriptures everyday, pray twice a day, pay their tithing, attend their church meetings, and to fulfill their callings.
My husband recently had the great idea to make our spiritual stuff into a competition. You can get a point for reading your scriptures, saying prayers, giving service, writing in your journal, and a few other things. We then had a draft and made two teams. Just so you know my team is killing this competition!
FEMPSS is a big part of our foundation in our home. It helps us to live a balanced life and it is helping our children to become functioning adults. I know I said this already, but it deserves to be repeated. The best way to teach your kids to live a balanced life is by example.
Need some help creating your FEMPSS? Just send me an email and I’ll gladly help you out!