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    Weekend parenting retreat is more than just a getaway

    Weekend parenting retreat is more than just a getaway

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Alex Ramos | U.S. Army Maj. Seth H. George, Chaplain for Special Operations Command South,...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Alex Ramos 

    Special Operations Command South

    The smell of the ocean, the sound of waves slowly coming into the shoreline, and visions of people kayaking and paddle boarding are all things one could expect of a vacation spot, but this last weekend the atmosphere provided the backdrop for a different scene.

    Special Operations Command South hosted a parenting retreat in Baker’s Cay Resort, Key Largo, Fla., Sept. 13-15. The event falls under Special Operations Command’s Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF) readiness program designed to maintain a commitment to the first Special Operations Forces Truth, “Humans are more important than hardware.”

    “These retreats are an opportunity to love your family and share time with your family in an intentional and memorable way,” said U.S. Army Maj. Seth H. George, Chaplain for SOCSOUTH.

    The event started off with introductions by everyone participating followed by guided discussions presented by Chaplain George.

    “The value of a retreat is that when military members leave our natural support structures and communities; extended family, aunts and uncles, good friends and good friends of your parents, godparents… all that,” said George. “We enter the service and join the military community. So coming to an event like this gives us a chance to make friends, connect, cross talk, and discuss these topics of parenting amongst ourselves.”

    For U.S. Air Force Capt. W. Tyler Keller, Protocol Officer for SOCSOUTH, and his wife, Magda Keller, who have two children together, a four-year old girl and a two-year old boy, the retreat was an opportunity to learn from other couples and add new tools to their parenting skills.

    “There’s a diverse array of parents and children of all ages, so we wanted to see what they have done and what we could do better,” said Tyler. “Also, seeing the (Military and Family Life Consultants) and Chaplain to sharpen our toolset and try to implement skills intentionally."

    “I was just looking for techniques, for the logical technique, that every person needs growing up. I wanted to see the most effective disciplinary approach,” said Magda. “The love approach. The basic fundamentals that humans and children need is what I was looking for… informational techniques that have worked for others.”

    While George was the main speaker, the three day retreat featured different activities for both the parents and their kids by providing childcare for the families, and bringing two MFLCs that discussed topics such as “Kids and Their Feelings” and “Discipline Techniques.”

    Techniques for discipline was a key topic the Chaplain hoped parents would take away from the retreat.

    “I think kids need consistent discipline. Just like when I was playing basketball, I needed my coach to be consistent and a disciplinarian, but the discipline covers a full range of activities from wind sprints, to scrimmages, and then all the fun in between, such as riding the bus and travelling to games. The coach manages all that, but he strives to be consistent in his approach to turn kids into basketball players,” said George. “I think the same thing applies for a family. Kids need consistency whether it's playtime, mealtime, and especially if there’s a ‘disciplinary problem.’ Kids need the parents to lead, guide, and coach.”

    Coaching kids through problems is one of a few things that stuck with Tyler.

    “There have been several things that we will work on implementing,” he said. “I think trying to get to the end goal and the root cause of helping the kids by having them work through their problems so that we are not just solving everything for them. It’ll help them get through life whether the problem is small or big.”

    The weekend learning session is the third retreat SOCSOUTH’s Religious Support Team (RST) has done together, said Chief Petty Officer Ian J. Wakefield, RST noncommissioned officer in charge for SOCSOUTH.

    “These retreats are important because it allows members of SOCSOUTH and their families to take a tactical pause in their normal routines and spend quality time with one another,” said Wakefield.

    Routines and the business of life are not uncommon for many people, so having events like these is something Magda appreciated.

    “As a military spouse and with our children living this lifestyle, it’s a blessing because we have different challenges than (non-military families), but I feel like we get a lot of resources that others don’t get,” she said. “I’m very thankful for everyone that make it happen. Thank you for what everyone does so that we are able to get this training and understand our children a little more.”

    A suitable timeline is being looked at for the next retreat, but according to the RST, everything builds on each other. SOCSOUTH will be hosting a Children’s Ball Sept. 27, 2019.



    Date Taken: 09.17.2019
    Date Posted: 09.17.2019 10:57
    Story ID: 341371
    Location: KEY LARGO, FL, US 

    Web Views: 231
    Downloads: 0