Here we are at the end of a journey that, probably, could not and should not have been done differently. Like any other WM program, it was unique, as the days and hours of our lives and we cannot be happier to have shared the road of life with you.
The program for Parents & Kids always leaves a bittersweet taste in our mouth. Maybe because kids grow so fast at this age or because we have a clearer conscience that time is limited. Whatever is the reason this experience is unrepeatable. Even if we decide to return with the same people in the following year, it is a co-production of an incredible dimension where everyone contributes to the final result.
Parents & kids relationships go deep and real.
We want to share with you how the program supported us towards the best version of our relation.
On our first day, when we meet, there is always a mixture of excitement and anxiety. The week ahead of us holds a significant amount of mysteries, and that is precisely the way it should be. Our starting point was Vigo, the coastal Galician town that faces the Cies Islands and the mighty Atlantic.
Our first exercise was about listening, which is probably the single most crucial aspect of any relationship. Without the capacity to listen, there is no way to know what the other wants or needs. It is a rare and generous gift – to listen to someone – in this media bombarded society. Good listening is built on three necessary skills: attitude, attention, and adjustment. Also known as triple-A listening.
Every day, each participant had a list of questions to choose in every conversation. Also, a page to register what were the key learnings on each interaction and a page with examples of lousy listening habits and good listening habits. It was amazing to witness how essential aspects of each other’s lives go unnoticed. For example, one of the kids finds out what his father majored in university.
Our second day included an outstanding journey to the original Finisterra – the end of the world in the ancient pre-roman mind. We began our day by taking the ferry from Vigo to Cangas and walking around the peninsula. In Facho Donon, we appreciated the ancient lighthouse that signaled the beginning or, the end of the world, depending on the perspective. From this point, we had a magnificent view of the Cies Islands and also of our’ kid’s lives.
In such a unique setting, we imagined the doubts and questions the ancients had when looking to this horizon – what fears, hopes, wonder, and amazement they experienced. This exercise was an opportunity to relate to our feelings about the future and discover new things about others and ourselves.
In an era of abundant possibilities to be busy all the time, we also practiced a period of JOMO ; ) Do you know what JOMO means? Wait until the end of the article, and you might want to practice it sometime.
Today we start our “walk” on a boat in the direction of Combarro. Once we touched the ground on the other side of Ria de Pontevedra we walked into the path of Armenteira Monastery. Trough magical forests, we caught a part of the Ruta dos Muiños and arrived on time to enjoy the swimming pool of our Hotel.
Step by step, our week continued to unfold. In the first two days, we were focused on listening and questioning. Today we analyzed the way we are using our time.
Highlights: On the boat trip in the morning, the engine stopped, and we were stranded in the water. The default answer was boredom and escape to the devices, but somehow, we started to make jokes and play. It was an hour of fun and learning opportunities. The skipper took the chance to point out some highlights of the surroundings, including a unique lighthouse with an exterior ladder. Before we knew it, we were on our way again.
Rise and shine. Today we started a new section in our program in the Route of Pedra e Auga. This stretch was probably one of the most beautiful things we saw during our whole week. We walked on stones and water – descending from the mountains to the flat area near the Ria de Arosa, where we arrived through marshlands and vineyards to Cambados. There we slept near the sea and the seagulls.
It is time to summarise much of the information we have been collecting along the route. Create a personal inventory was our next challenge. The exercise was an opportunity to reflect on your successes and best qualities. It was also the right time to recognize the areas where we are less developed.
Knowing our shortcomings as well as our strengths, helps us to approach future situations differently. Self-awareness bolsters our ability to navigate through life.
After checking his screen time on the mobile phone, one of the participants found out he was using 47 hours of social media a week!!! You should have seen his face. Something clicked, and we understood we were in the right direction on our work.
Today we walked mainly near the coast and on the sandy beaches of Ria de Arousa. The weather helped, and there was plenty of swimming until we reached our final destination in Vilanova.
Exercise: Build a vision
So far, we were invited to listen, question, look at how we spend our time and at our weaknesses and strengths. Now it was time to start viewing the relationship with our parent/kid.
First, we agreed on a common timeframe. Secondly, we looked at the best moments we’ve had together when we had fun. Finally, we pointed out what gives life to the relationship, what is essential? What is common and determining?
Highlights: It was interesting to see what a perfect day can be. Typically spend time fully committed together is enough. Real change happens in real life, and this is the chance to start to improve your relationship immediately.
The day started in the footsteps of Santiago de Compostela. We took a boat up the Ria de Arousa into the Ulla river and after to Pontecesures. After we walked a freshly marked route until Rivadulla and the hidden gem of casa Marcelo, ran divinely by Dolores and Manuel.
It was time to bring it back to focus. Our first task was to look for activities and feelings and try to pinpoint what makes them unique.
In real life, we only have limited time and resources, and we should focus them on what is essential. This exercise was a process of choice – it is not about what you leave out; it’s about what you choose.
As the days and walking pile up, and the destination gets near, the tension rises. No pain, no gain, and as the talks go more in-depth, the feelings are skin deep. The participants had a robust and honest discussion on the usage of mobile phones – confronting different perspectives from a tool you use to a mind washing machine that controls you. It’s hard to see eye to eye, but the benefit of sharing honest and respectful positions can’t be undervalued.
We reached Santiago in our final stretch. The first hours were uphill but under a morning blanket of a pleasant fog and magical mist. Then it became flat and downhill until we enter Compostela. What an incredible feeling when we first saw the pinnacles of the Cathedral.
Exercise: Detail the future
The best views come after the hardest climb. By now, we had already listed 3 to 5 activities with your parent/kid that brings joy and replenish our relationship. The challenge was to implement change in small, minute changes into the things we do every day.
Highlights: Tunnels can have magical acoustics and it doesn’t matter if you are singing hip-hop or a romantic song. It reminded us of the uniqueness of our relationships. If you give the best of yourself, all that is left is to enjoy the presence of the other.
On Sunday, we reached the last day of our journey, or was it the first? Similar to our visit a few days ago in Facho Donon (remember the end of the world?), it all depends on our perspective.
The final task was done together between the parent and the kid. It was time to bring our action plan to life. We took a moment to do something we both wanted to do together. We could start seeing how small steps that are taken consistently can bring us a long way.
The same applies to what we want to improve with our relationships, and with anything else in our life.
Arriving in Santiago, one of the kids kept finding and pointing out shops and streets and references of Rosalía de Castro. As it turned out, Rosalía de Castro, the famous Galician poet, is very relevant to that kid’s parent. This was a topic that arose a few times during the questioning exercises of the first days. In this natural and effortless way, this kid was sharing special complicity with his father.
The cycle was completed, and a new one was about to begin. The end is always the beginning of something new.
Keep walking with us,
João and Nuno
*JOMO – is an acronym for the joy of missing out and describes the pleasure of taking a break from social activity–especially social media–to enjoy personal time.