March 2012 research Library issues: a QuarterLy report froM arL, cNi, aNd sparc
RLI 278 7
Once the children are sentient, have weekly family meetings. We came up with this ploy when I
took a class in child rearing, hoping to become a calmer and better parent. The recommended meeting
agenda is to start with compliments from everyone; discuss school, work, and family plans for the week;
hear grievances; and hand out allowances. Finish the meeting with a treat (cookies, a game, a short trip
to the museum) chosen by the chair—a position which rotates weekly among all family members. Take
minutes—rotated among those who can write; these special notebooks (or online files) become your
family history.
Talk about your work at the dinner table. It reduces mystery about your absence. You can
communicate that frustration or occasional failure is not fatal, and you can pass on interest and skills.
And, you may learn something from the questions your children ask. As your children grow, you may be
surprised and pleased to see them demonstrate the skills they picked up at your dinner table.
Looking back, my husband and I feel that we have mostly accomplished what we set out to do. We
have had rewarding and useful careers and our children feel confident that they can also. It was not easy
but we did it.
© 2012 Shirley K. Baker
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United
States License. To view a copy of this license, visit
To cite this article: Shirley K. Baker. “Leading a Full Life: Reflections on Several Decades of Work,
Family, and Accomplishment.” Research Library Issues: A Quarterly Report from ARL, CNI, and SPARC, no.
278 (March 2012): 2–7.
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