Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Family Retreat 2016

A couple years ago we started a tradition that we all love--an annual family retreat. Once a year (we like to do it in January) we set aside a weekend for special family togetherness. We check into a hotel for a night (to make things more fun and official), hold meetings, set goals, and talk about our family values. We just finished our family retreat a couple weeks ago, and it was probably our best one yet.

After we checked into our hotel room we all sat down for our first meeting. This year in our first meeting we talked a bit about our family values, taught the kids a song we made up with each of the values, and introduced our family awards.

We will be handing out three different awards each week in family council this year--a good manners award, an exactness award, and a family value award. The good manners award is probably self explanatory--we are always looking for a way to reinforce courtesy and social grace.
The exactness award is for someone who has been meticulous in cleaning up and doing jobs and schoolwork correctly (not sloppily).
The family value award will be given to someone who has done well that week with the family value for the month. (For instance, January's value is forgiveness and repentance. If someone did a stellar job apologizing or forgiving, they would get the award.)
The award hangs over its recipient's bed for the week till we reevaluate for the next week. Our hope is that the awards will help the kids to begin to recognize themselves as having some of the attributes we are hoping to teach them.

After our first meeting we went swimming in the hotel pool and played Marco Polo.

With all that energy worked out, everyone was ready for our second meeting. I prepared a list of 25 scenarios, Cameron read each one to the kids, and they would list off family values that could help them make a good decision in each of those instances. Each time they named off an appropriate family value, we gave them a Bugle.
Which brings us to the topic of food. Corporate retreats tend to keep plenty of snack food handy, and our family retreat follows the same concept. I prepare for each meeting by packing snack bags full of different options, and everyone gets a different snack bag for each meeting. Happy mouths and occupied hands help things run more smoothly around here.

After the second meeting we went to dinner then came back for our third meeting--a little family goal-setting meeting. We went around the circle and everyone made suggestions. After a bit of banter and brainstorming we set three main goals: 1-run three 5Ks together as a family this year; 2-perform 100 acts of service outside the home; 3-be on time for family scripture study (7am) at least 100 times this year.

We ended the evening by watching Charlotte's Web together and discussing family values we found in it, such as loyalty, courage, and service. The next morning everyone enjoyed a big hotel breakfast and our retreat came to a close.

I love the opportunity our family retreat provides to focus on the things that are most important--loving and spending time with each other, setting goals, and living Christ-centered lives. Family retreats are unifying and fun and I heartily recommend them!

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