- a family legal system (system of rules and consequences and a positive environment where kids will want to behave well)
- a family economic system (how we teach our kids about work and money in our homes through chores, allowances, work-for-pay or whatever feels best for our family)
- a family culture (building a positive and fun family identity through discussions of what we're all about as a family, family traditions, family fun...)
We present this stuff at Power of Moms Retreats and have great discussions with all the wonderful moms who attend. But we much prefer to present this "Family Systems" curriculum when BOTH parents can be present. So we've started doing these little "date night" retreats and it's been wonderful to see that the dads get into this just as much (if not more) than the moms. It's wonderful to see all these great couples sharing and learning and asking each other questions and coming away with fresh ideas to help them build the unique family systems that their family needs.
I loved being able to have Jared with me for this Couples Retreat. He has so many great thoughts and ideas and really helped lead the discussions. I loved having him right there with me as we both shared what we've learned and learned from the many ideas shared by others that we needed to hear - together.
I loved presenting with Tiffany (Sowby) who has so many great ideas of her own to share and who's been presenting her own Couples Retreats quite a bit in the past year. She and her husband Mike really get this stuff and bring so many fun and fresh ideas to the table. It's great to see how the universal principles included in our Family Systems curriculum can play out with so many different methods. Also, Tiffany took care of registration and all the logistics - it was heavenly to just show up and present and not have to do everything else as well!
I loved that this Retreat brought me together with one of my oldest, dearest friends who I'd lost track of for way too long. I grew up with Chaunntel Sparks (now Petit) at Bear Lake. With my sisters and her sisters, we traded off sleeping over at each other's houses and had so many adventures together, riding the Sparks' horses, sleeping out on their trampoline, playing "shipwrecked" on an old surf board on the lake, putting on a summer production of "Annie" together, and much more. When we put an announcement on Facebook asking for someone to volunteer their home for a couples' Retreat, Chaunntel volunteered her beautiful home in Bountiful. I had no idea she lived so close to me and was so grateful for the lovely place to hold the Retreat (her home was just perfect). But I was even more grateful for the chance to be re-connected with such a great friend.
|Here I am with Tiffany (left) and Chaunntel (middle)|
No matter how many times I help present this Family Systems stuff, I always come away with something important that I really needed to hear. This time, these were my big take-aways:
- It's OK - and to be expected - to change your systems and switch things up every so often. No one comes up with one great system that will work forever. As kids get older, as needs change, as we learn and change as parents, systems need to be adjusted, tweaked or completely overhauled. Jared and I just changed our Family Economy and added in some new elements that are really helping. Change is good. Consistency if something isn't working well is not good.
- I've got to re-remember the vital importance of praise. Raise the Praise. Minimize the Criticize. I'm going to refresh my efforts to say something I really appreciate about each of my children as I tuck then in bed at night and I'm going to focus on pointing out all the good things they do every single day and reserve criticism for much more rare occasions (and embed necessary criticism in praise).
- Fun is important. It's not just nice. It's vital. If things get done more slowly (or not at all) to make room for fun, that's OK. I'm too serious too much. My kids need a fun mom and my husband needs a fun wife and I've got to let go of my striving for perfection and excellence in some areas in order to make way for excellent fun and all the good it brings.
- The 76 kids represented by the 40 there last Friday night are such lucky kids. Wow, there were some stellar parents there! I wish we'd had hours more to keep talking and learning from the collective wisdom and ideas in that room! Sometimes the world seems like a pretty scary place - but as I sensed the POWER of POSITIVE PARENTING there in that room on Friday, I saw the beautiful potential of ripple effects that can offer a lot of light and hope for the future. Good parents striving to be even better parents can make all the difference when we look down the road at what the future may bring.
*** Thanks to Holly from the lovely blog, Bits of Everything, for the great photography - and all the great ideas and comments that she and her husband contributed! You can see Holly's post about the Retreat HERE.