As time as passed since the New Parent Orientation and the Parent Retreat (April 27th-, I cant help but reflect on the tremendous opportunities for learning, activities and relationships that were had. From the initial meeting of the New Parents Orientation where we covered the basics of treatment expectations and the therapeutic model to the informative presentation of The Anatomy of Peace by Dr. Ken Huey, the time was invaluable to connect with other parents, meet the staff and therapists, and enjoy some good meals.
I cant help but still think of the humorous anecdotes and stories Ken relayed in his message that communicated that we all are human with our personal flaws but yet desire relationship and often climb Into the box with others. It was empowering to consider that we have the ability to rise above our own frustrations and more effectively connect with others by having a Heart of Peace and engaging them as people with feelings rather than objects. This became increasingly evident as the Parent Retreat progressed and parents as well as students talked openly with one another about getting stuck In the Box and needing to recognize that If I am mad, I am wrong. I was actually able to witness a parent and child engage in repair with regard to many past experiences of being mad and losing their Heart of Peace.
One of the most meaningful experiences was the opportunity to participate in the creation of the Mosaic pictures where the families worked together to smash tiles and creatively make a picture which represented Peace in their family. I was not disappointed by the creativity and thought which went into the project. Each family created an amazing picture using just the tiles which represented things which were important to their family (crosses, hearts, birds, sunsets, people, etc.). The project concluded the following day with the activity of grouting the picture and then gathering together where each family shared what the picture represented to them, very powerful and memorable.
The retreat was the perfect opportunity to enjoy simply sitting down to a meal with parents and students with whom I normally dont have a lot of interaction and be able to laugh, talk, and connect. I always enjoy the time to take a walk with a family, sit by the fire, listen to them during the Parent Support Group, and play fun games with. The retreat is that time to experience so many different aspects of relationships that prove to me so incredibly valuable. This seems to be reinforced by the student who becomes resistant to connect with their parents and attempts to ignore them throughout the retreat, yet it turns out to be extremely meaningful for the parents in connecting with other parents, students, staff, and themselves.
As the retreat comes to a close I always am filled with a deep sense of gratitude for the families and the opportunity we have had to grow, learn, and share with each other. Even as I sit in my office a few weeks later, I cant help but reflect on the relationships I made and the experience we shared connecting with one another. Thank you to all the families who attended!