May 18, 2016 Strong Cincinnati Contributor

Parent Café Reflection

JenniferCruzChildren, Inc. hosted their first Character Strength Parent Café at Treasure House.  It was a great success and truly felt like the start of a great strength community.  These cafes will 1) Help parents identify and use their own strengths in parenting. 2) Spot emerging strengths in their children and 3) Nurture and grow their child’s unique collection of strengths as they mature.  We hope that Character Strength Cafes will improve families’ strengths through reflective discussions and meaningful social connections.

Jennifer,  a parent at Children, Inc. reflects on her experience being part of our Café:

Last night, I attended my first parent café. The topic was character strengths. Through my work I have become familiar with the character strengths and have had many professional discussions around them. I didn’t anticipate the participation in the parent café to be much different. It was a small group, it being the first one but the faces were all familiar as I see most of them at drop off and pick up each day.

As the discussions got underway I was surprised at the level of candor among the groups. I felt myself reflecting on the character strengths in new ways, looking at them from a perspective of parenting rather than personal growth or how they have shaped my life decisions. It was fascinating to hear from fellow parents how they felt their character strengths not only shaped them as parents but are shaping their children as well. I particularly enjoyed the discussion around which strengths we feel we have “put on the back burner” as parents and this was very enlightening for me as a mother.

As I drove home after wards I was struck by the feeling of support and relief I felt in having established a community and new relationships with people in similar situations as myself. I felt comforted by the fact that other parents have similar feelings and struggles as I do and that we could share those burdens. I am also excited and energized by the idea of seeing these parents in the hallway at drop off and pick up and being able to engage in authentic conversations with them and genuine care and concern for their well-being and knowing that they will reciprocate those feelings. It is empowering to have made connections to those we see every day,  that we can identify with one another and truly support each other in the wild,  unpredictable ride that is parenting.  I am grateful for the experience and I’m looking forward to continuing this process.

-Jennifer Cruz

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