In what has become an eagerly anticipated annual event, this year’s Family Days, once again, did not disappoint.
Themed ‘Growing Together’, the one-day seminars aimed to help families grow closer to one another, and excel together as a family in their personal, social and spiritual lives.
To cater for the numbers around the country, a total of four Family Days were held at three different venues, with 458 families attending in total:
Leicester, Saturday 6 March 2010 (108 families)
Ashton, Sunday 7 March 2010 (90 families)
London, Saturday 20 March 2010 (110 families)
London, Sunday 21 March 2010 (150 families)
Attendees in the latter two Days at London were especially fortunate to have the presence and guidance of Sadguru Doctor Swami as well.
Each Family Day ran from 10.00am to 7.00pm with refreshments and meals provided throughout the day. Each day was packed with inspiring and enjoyable sessions where families were educated through speeches, presentations, videos and interactive family discussions – all based around the Day’s theme.
The opening session kicked off the Day with the traditional deep pragatya and prayers, and introduced the theme and objectives.
Then delegates broke off into their respective age-groups for a session on ‘Growing Together by Managing Anger’. Sadhus elaborated upon Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s teachings from the Vachanamrut and other scriptures on how to manage anger and further explained its relevance to the family. This session was unique to each age-group allowing the presentations to be tailored accordingly and be more effective.
The following session, called ‘Growing Together by Being Flexible and Letting Go’, was a time for families to have a frank, interactive discussion among themselves about managing anger in various situations at home.
After lunch, families began the team-building task for ‘Growing Together by Being Together’. Families were required to build a model ship from the meagre materials provided. But more than a test of innovative engineering, the challenge was to see how each family discussed, planned and executed a project together – and in the process discover new qualities about each other. In the post-task evaluation exercise, each family reflected upon how they could communicate and work together better.
The fourth session of the day was ‘Growing Together by Respecting Each Other’ in which participants learned the importance of respect for one another within the family.
The ‘Growing Together by Upholding Traditions’ session followed thereafter, where families watched a presentation and then discussed the ‘how’s and ‘why’s of sustaining family traditions.
Concluding the Day was a session on ‘Growing Together through Satsang’. Doctor Swami and Yogvivek Swami spoke of how the values lived by Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj can help enhance harmony within the family, and emphasised patience, understanding, and setting good examples for children to emulate.
All four Days were a resounding success with families having had a wonderful time together and leaving thoroughly inspired and committed.
Some of the feedback from the participants included:
"Today I learnt what I need to do to communicate better with my family."
Parent from Leicester
"It helped me to realise how to become a good father."
Parent from Loughborough
"I have understood I need to be less angry and respect other members of my family more."
Teenager from Bolton
"Helped me gain more confidence with my family and to maintain a strong bond with all members."
Parent from Leicester
"Making the ship with mum and dad was cool!"
Young child from London
"Helped us as a family to refocus on what is important, i.e. listen to each other, respect, do things together, and traditions."
Parent from Ashton
"How fortunate we are to have such events and guidance! It’s so easy to take things for granted, but it struck us that if the mandir is working so hard to help us as a family, we have to work harder at it as well now. Thank you to everyone for such an enlightening day."
Parents from London