Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Couples Retreat

What a wonderful weekend we had!  It was incredible to gather with so many deliberate parents.  I wish we could bottle up the energy and ideas that filled my parents' house and share them with every single parent in the world. 

Here's the left side of the audience (my little point-and-shoot couldn't take in the whole group)
And here's the right side of the audience
Here are some friends from Ogden who we were so glad to have there
Here I am with some of my all-time favorite women - my mom, my amazing partner April, and Tiffany, our excellent Retreat Organizer who I first met when we were both teenagers in England. I love how life brought us back together.

I'm always so stressed out about these Retreats.  But despite my worries that some of the 1000's of details involved will get messed up or that I'll get up there and forget everything I meant to say, each Retreat has proven to be a wonderful experience for me and for everyone else involved.

I was especially worried about our first Couples Retreat that was held on Saturday at my parents' place in Park City.  We haven't done a Retreat for moms and dads before.  We know what to say to moms.  But we weren't sure whether dads would want to come and if they did, whether they'd really enjoy being there and find it valuable.  Turns out that while it did take longer than usual to fill this Retreat (BOTH parents coming to a Retreat is obviously harder for a family both economically and logistically), we were able to fill up my parents' home with wonderful couples.  And I have to say, the dads seemed to enjoy it and participate every bit as much if not more than the moms.  What wonderful couples we had!  As I got to know them, I realized that really, our job was just to provide a place and some good topics and questions for them.  When you get that many stellar couples in a room together, there will be learning and growth and and great times, even if April and I just stood back and watched!

My parents did a great job presenting and sharing their rich experiences from having raised 9 children and having spoken to groups all over the world.  April and her husband Eric did a fabulous job presenting on building a strong marriage foundation upon which to build your family systems - fun to see them in action together. they always surpass my greatest hopes.  My parents and I, with help from April, Eric, Tiffany (our Retreat Manager) and Tiffany's husband, Mike, all shared our ideas and experiences with building a strong family discipline system, a family economy that teaches kids about work and money and prepares them for the real world, and a family culture that is stronger than peer culture. We did lots of small-group discussion as well and I loved hearing the great ideas that every couple brought into the mix.Jared was there most of the time but declined presenting. He's content to be our web guy and marketing guru - plus he somehow managed to keep the kids really happy and quiet downstairs or out on some short hikes while still listening in on most of the Retreat.

It was so wonderful to have the moms and the dads there together to learn and share simultaneously.  While I love love love presenting to groups of moms, it makes more sense to me to present stuff about family systems to both parents rather than sharing great ideas with moms and then they go home and share what they learned with their husbands. They can do a great job sharing all that they learned and husbands and wives can work together to figure out what they want to apply to their own family. But ultimately, what the wife brings home from Retreats still feels like "her" ideas - whereas, if they hear the ideas together, both parents can develop their own ideas from what they hear and move on to create great shared action plans to take their family where they want it to go.

I felt sad to say goodbye at the end of the day.  I wish Jared and I as well as all the other couples there could head out on a big vacation together and keep talking and having fun together.  And I'd love my kids to be able to meet all their kids.  April and I are seriously thinking a Power of Families cruise or resort weekend may have to be part of our future!


mom said...

FUN DAY! Nice collage!

Shera said...

We absolutely loved the retreat! We are excited to use some of the amazing things we learned. Thank you for a wonderful weekend.


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