Spiritual Parenting retreat by Vivek Ji and Vilasini Ji, November 9-10, 2019
On Nov 8 and 9 of 2019, families of Greater Sacramento had the fortune of being part of the first-ever weekend retreat at Triveni, Chinmaya Mission, Sacramento. During the weekend retreat, two dedicated Acharyas covered various aspects of parenthood from a spiritual perspective. In one of his sessions, Vivek Ji presented the 6 sutras of social media usage. This piece was developed and documented by Vivek Ji himself. These sutras were written as a guiding principle to prevent overuse/misuse of phone/social media; a growing issue across several age groups in our times.
In another session, Vilasini Ji cross-examined in great detail a few examples from the book ‘How to Talk So That Children Listen…’ by Adele and Elaine. In a rush to go through the entire book, sometimes parents rush and flip through the pages without immersing in the book. This session was quite the opposite. Vilasini Ji came prepared with her presentation slides listing a few of her carefully picked examples from the book. She held conversations, directing parents to pause and reflect at the multiple ways to handle each scenario; and the possible gamut of feelings running in the minds of both parents and kids while simulating those scenarios. These exercises facilitated parents to broaden their myopic view of parenting, to include kids’ perspectives into these real-life situations.
During the day, while parents were participating in guided meditation sessions or contributing to the group discussions, several Bala Vihar volunteers were working nonstop throughout the day; (a few since five in the morning); to provide a steady supply of nutritious meals and snacks. Most items were cooked fresh at the venue. Care was taken to serve families with dietary needs (such as vegan or other preferences) alternate yet equally super delicious dishes at each meal.
The afternoon soccer sessions were a look forward to as well! It was an eye-opener how parents could throw a hundred percent of themselves into the strenuous game with no prior experience yet with all their enthusiasm, despite those heavy meals! Vivek ji would constantly favor the losing team using a mixed bag of strategies. When all other strategies failed, he would run at the speed of the wind, leap to kick the ball mid-air and make it fly across the entire field, close enough to strike a goal!
Each day would end with a beautiful garland of melodious bhajans strung by Indu Vashist Ji and several Bala Vihar students.
The parenting retreat at Chinmaya Mission Sacramento was extremely engaging and thought-provoking. That weekend, as the parents immersed themselves in a flawlessly planned and executed memorable retreat; Bharati Ji and the Chinmaya Sacramento Team’s months of behind the scenes efforts to put this together clearly showed up in every aspect of the program.
Deepti Sharan is a parent, and sevika at Chinmaya Triveni, Sacramento. Her family of five, parents and 3 children was active part of the Spiritual Retreat.
Spiritual Parenting retreat by Vivek ji and Vilasini ji, November 9-10, 2019
Parents, sevaks, few Sacramento families, and few families from out of California had the privilege to attend Parenting retreat at Chinmaya Triveni. It was an extraordinary experience to be part of this retreat. This retreat helped parents understand themselves better and what parenting approach work for their family. There was something to learn for every parent and grandparent. It was an interactive family event, a different approach from Gnana Yajna. Every activity and discourse had a purpose to build this 2-day event. It was a good opportunity to learn from Vivek Ji and Vilasini Ji.
Parents’ Retreat started with an interesting ice breaker activity, which was important to come out of one’s comfort zone and make the sessions more interactive. Each session was timed well. Discourses reflected on parenting learnings from Ramayana. Real-life parenting lessons by Vilasini Ji could be easily related to day to day activities. Parents pondered how their words were interpreted by kids and how reframing of sentences and actions could help build stronger relationships with kids.
It was a perfect getaway with time planned for sports, breaks and all meals included so that everyone could relax, get best out of the retreat, and not worry about anything else. While parents were in sessions with Vivek Ji and Vilasini Ji, kids participated in Bala Vihar activities with Tejus and Megha. Tejus and Megha graciously offered to drive from the Bay area to teach the kids. It was special for the kids to interact with them. As one of the Bala Vihar students, Anmol Singhal shared his experience “This retreat was a wonderful experience and opportunity to learn the true meaning of friendship. In the two days at this retreat, I was able to enjoy talking with two guest sevaks, Tejus, and Megha. We had Bal vihar classes while the parents were listening to lectures by Vivekji and Valasiniji. In the afternoon, we would go to the park and play soccer together as one big family. I felt relaxed and didn’t think about anything else in those two days. I would definitely encourage everybody to come to the next one”. Anmol is a freshman and has attended Chinmaya Triveni, Sacramento since he was in KinderGarten.
This was Singhal’s family’s first parent retreat, they attended. Ranjana describes this as a calm, relaxing, intangible, and knowledge-penetrating experience.
Ranjana Singhal is a parent, sevika, and Bala Vihar Coordinator at Chinmaya Triveni, Sacramento.