The retreat was GREAT!
At first I was hesitant since we have two children under the age of ten. I was not sure how they were going to respond to the fact that we did the retreat silent, especially my five year old, Sydney.
The only way the kids could communicate with us was through them asking us questions verbally and the adults responding through body lanuage, cavemen grunts of no or yes (which sounded more like we had a mouth jam packed with popcorn...try it sometime) or notes written on paper. After a few successful tries, they seemed to adopt our new communication styles perfectly and they even tried communicating to each other the same ways.
What was even more beautiful was the way the kids all got along. It seemed that without the parents being able to play referee or troubleshoot their problems, they just decided to take the ownership on figuring out how to do something and even better, conflict resolutions between them as they arose. I didn't notice as much bickering, name calling and tears. I think they knew that "mom and dad" could not verbally console them, so why pick on each other in the first place. (Now that is not to say if one cracked their head open, we wouldn't rush to help them.) They just realized the skills they had to communicate with each other worked without us.
What also made the retreat realistic was the time away in "session" and the quality time we spent with the kids. There were two, two hours sessions each day. When we were in session they had a familiar adult come to babysit and to talk with, play and do play video game with. When we were out of session, the house rules were no tv, no cell phones and NO TV! Instead we played games, did crafts (easy one, not Martha Stewart style) color, make paper buildings with computer paper and staples, and make puzzles. It was easier than I thought, not to mention the smiles and bonding time we had.
In the end, it was worth it 110%. I will for sure do this again. The funny part is, the whole time we were silent with each other, it always seemed like we were talking with each other. I guess what I mean is...if I had to think back the non-verbal communications seemed so real in my head. The power of the mind is an explosive tool.
Post written by Beth M.