By Ms. Becky FarmerMarch 18, 2014
"The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining," President John F. Kennedy said at his 1962 State of the Union Address, and this quote made for an apt start to the four-hour Executive Resilience and Performance Course given to Army senior leaders' spouses at Fort Bragg March 10 and 11, 2014.
Fort Bragg's Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) Training Center offered the course to spouses, exposing them to the same resilience and performance enhancement skills that Master Resilience Trainers (MRTs) provide to soldiers, family members, and Army civilians at the unit level.
The 40 spouses who attended are married to leaders at commands ranging from battalion to corps, and many are Family Readiness Support Assistants (FRSA). Each course began with the Fort Bragg Training Center Manager, Jim Arp, providing an overview of CSF2, which is an Army-wide program designed to increase the psychological resilience and overall performance of soldiers, family members and Army civilians through training and self-development.
The instructor, lead Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Expert (MRT-PE), Brian Wade taught the spouses a few of the skills CSF2 trains: Hunt the Good Stuff, Active Constructive Responding, Goal Setting, Avoid Thinking Traps, and Energy Management.
These skills clearly resonated with the spouses. The skill "Active Constructive Responding," where students learn how to respond to good news in a way that strengthens relationships, was especially popular. "Active Constructive Responding is something that I really need to work on," said Jessica Walker, an Army spouse and the FRSA for Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion. "I'm a mom, my husband works long hours, and I have a full-time job. So when my husband only has one minute to talk with me on the phone, I need to be better at listening to him and asking him to tell me more, so I can build our relationship even when we're apart."
Beth Nelson, another spouse who attended the course, said, "[These skills] have helped me begin to formulate how I might assist my husband's unit in bringing the training to our families." Walker agreed, noting, "Being proactive is key. The more resilient you are prior to an adverse event, the better you'll be able to bounce back. I think that's huge for our soldiers and family members."
"Providing executive-level training to command spouses lets them know how to use the training and tools offered by CSF2 to help themselves and other members of the Army family," said Arp. "With many spouses juggling work and children, scheduling training for them is difficult. But CSF2 Training Centers can make it simple. For those who are interested in receiving training, just call your local CSF2 Training Center, and work with them to coordinate training for individuals and groups," he added.
Wade concluded, "The sun was shining today when we taught these skills to these Army spouses. They now have a sturdy umbrella for the next time it rains."
CSF2 Training Centers offer Executive Resilience and Performance Courses Army-wide. For more information about executive training, please visit http://csf2.army.mil/exec-course.html.
CSF2 also encourages Army spouses to reach out to their local CSF2 Training Center for training opportunities. To find the one nearest you, visit http://csf2.army.mil/locations.html.