My daughter and I had the opportunity to attend the recent Calo Parents Retreat, with the theme Experiencing Healthy Intimacy. Held at the Windermere Conference Center in Roach, Missouri, the retreat offered parents the chance to get to know other families, spend therapeutic time with our kids, and reflect on our tribulations, progress, and hopes.
For me it was a mixed bag of emotional experiences. I liked many of the activities, such as the Parents Emotional Support group, where we were able to open up to one other.
It was painful, however, to participate in some of the sessions; childrens portrayals as they sculpted mini-vignettes of what their families had been like, and how they would like them to be in the future were poignant. On the other hand, several of the students in my group seemed happy and optimistic and that was a joy to see. I am eager for my own family to acquire that state of mind.
The other interesting (and somewhat distressing) thing that I observed was how some of the students, and mine in particular, handled the relative freedom of the camp setting. Come to think of it, it is interesting to see how I reacted, too. Without all of the rules and structure, some wanted to run (relatively) wild. Without the safety of the normal Calo routine, my anxiety and impatience mounted when my daughter was one of those pushing the limits.
The most useful part of the retreat for me was the seminar on the Persogenics types based on results of personality tests, which we all took. I saw how true I am to my type, and it sensitized me toward understanding other personality types, and to learning how best to interact with them. I learned how to modify the more extreme attributes of my personality (at least in theory!) In the end, the lesson I learned was that it is possible to suspend negative judgment and to practice acceptance of the diverse underlying personality styles that we have, much of which is hardwired into our very being.
Different isnt necessarily good or bad.
All in all, it was a very useful couple of days, and I went away feeling much more connected with the Calo community students, parents, and staff. I look forward to future such events.
Susan H. (Calo parent)