Thursday, August 30, 2012

The First Family Congress

I had to attend the first ever Family Congress in the country without the hubs, because he had a checkup and somebody had to stay with the kids for a while (just so they won't feel parent-deprived, since I have also been busy with breastfeeding advocacy this month). Plus, we had an all-adults kitakits with my cousins after.

Anyway, the Family Congress was held at the Valle Verde Country Club last August 25, 2012. From what I heard, there were many last-minute registrants and walk-ins, which upset the meals aspect because some people missed out on snacks in some of the break rooms, and a lot of us had to wait for our lunch. It has to be said though that the lunch was really heavy (which should already make an attendeed feel that they got what they paid for). I think that was 1/4 chicken after soup and macaroni sald, with potatoes and rice to boot! Dessert was chocolate cake.

Yes, my stomach was happy that day too :)  So much that I willingly skipped afternoon snacks.

All in all, I would say that the Family Congress was a success and I loved that they had breakout sessions so that attendees can really attend the talks that are relevant to them. I attended the Managing Media Use in Children (morning) and Art of Fighting (afternoon).

In Miss Queena Lee Chua's talk on media and its effects on brain development, I really didn't learn anything new, research/fact-wise. The bad effects of media in the very young is something I have been talking about, and was the first topic we tackled at our parents circle meeting at St. Michael. But Miss Queena's anecdotes and observations of what is happening in reality here in the country was very illuminating indeed.

Her talk could be summarized as follows:
- No media and whatever intervention to give them an edge for the very young, let them play instead
- Gadgets/media/electronic toys are really more for entertainment and not for training the mind to think
- There exists now the reality of students being unable to think, solve Math problems, construct proper sentences and actually read to comprehend... even in the best schools, despite coming from the best odds possible backgrounds
- Internet addiction is real and growing, even with the adults
- Let's use technology and not let it use us, or dictate how we live
- Parents should interact with their children more, and not spend hours on gadgets with them

For Art of Fighting, the speakers were our mentors at the Discovery Weekend we attended before getting married: Allan and Maribel Dionisio. They discussed the general hierarchy of needs of husbands and wives, pointed to us the difference, and reminded us of the rule to phrase our expressions/arguments more properly:
"When you -------
I feel -----
because ---- "

They also reminded us of the importance of sexual intimacy, regular dates and once a year vacations with the spouse (without the kids).

And in both talks, time allotted wasn't enough... so, yes, I'd definitely welcome more talks on the same topic.

Later on, I also liked the general talk given by Mr. Francis Kong... he was both very lively and impressive. One thing he reminded the audience of is to start with greater limits on children... and slowly expand that as they grow older (because most parents start out giving their children way too many choices and liberties, and then being too strict when their children are older... this reminded me of something discussed at our PCM where parenthood was likened to a fence that starts out close to the home, and then slowly moves away... a slow process of letting go).

The only thing I really didn't like about the Family Congress is the freebie milk given away by Wyeth (they gave one for children, Aqiva, and another one for adults). That seriously made sure I didn't pursue stamps on my passport because there was no way I would be approaching a formula milk company's desk when I have been spending time away from my children to fight the Milk Monster Bill.

The funny thing though is that we were given a loot bag in exchange for our feedback forms.. and they were eco bags from Nurture Network, Wyeth's own.  Ah well.

Anyway, I am looking forward to attending more of this... and maybe I could squeeze in a Love Institute lecture for hubby and me before the year ends. After all, if people who wish to advance in their career take up masterals or skills training... why not people who wish to improve their marriage and parenting? :)

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