By: Sgt. Melissa N. Lessard, 504th EMIB Public Affairs NCOIC
With the hustle and bustle of the military with deployments, field exercises, training, and overall work requirements families may struggle to spend quality time with each other. Over a three-day weekend from July 23-25, over 15 families from the 504th Military Intelligence Brigade Soldiers were able to spend quality time with their loved ones while participating in a Strong Bonds event in Houston, Texas.
Soldiers and family members were able to have a weekend away to strengthen their marriage and family foundation, enjoy quality time with their kids and loves ones, as well as see the sites of the local area.
"Strong Bonds allows families to reset, reconnect, recommit, reevaluate, and revisit those family relationships that are vital in Family being resilient," said Chaplain Alvin Burks 163rd Military Intelligence Battalion chaplain. "Strong Bonds training sends the message to our Soldiers and Families that they are our number one priority and the Army cares about the Soldier and their family's well-being."
Burks compared the family unit to a sports team and asked the families how they are like one.
The families answered, "The coach leads the family in the right direction; they have to have communication."
The training referred to family units as a sports team with the parents as the coaches and the children as the team members. Adults are responsible for molding and coaching their children but at the same time, they have to role model what they are teaching their children.
Imagine living in a home where no words are communicated.
"If there is no communication, there is a strong possibility there is no relationship," said Burks.
Communication is an important aspect of any event that happens in day-to-day life, especially in a family unit, said Burks.
Chaplain Burks used the RAM model for family connection which includes: Know, Trust, Rely, Commitment, and Touch. Families discussed how each subject fit into their relationships and family unit as a whole. While the parents might be at one level, the whole family as a whole may be at a different level for each topic.
Families discussed their values and how to instill them into the home.
"What family values do you think are important in your home? Imagine not having these values in your home; the family may feel a bit of turbulence," Burks said.
The Families responded with, "Honesty, trustworthiness, the value of a dollar, integrity, honor, discipline, respect…"
A lot of the values overlapped with other families while some values were very specific to one family.
Each day the families had the opportunity to share meals as well as an afternoon of sightseeing.
In the end, Burks reflected on his own experiences and said, "Don't lose touch. We are so busy we forget to tell children 'I love you,' and 'I appreciate you.'
Not only the children but other family members as well, even spouses.
Burks said that he sees the success from the Strong Bonds events when families connect and commit to family relationships.