Last month, my extended family spent our weeklong annual retreat at a new spot this year – Hawaii! Staying on the North Shore of Oahu, we lived in a gorgeous home filled with unique antiques and cozy spaces for intimate conversation. Although many of us are from and live in Los Angeles, there were others that came from Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Pennsylvania, and Seattle! In all, 22 of us flew over 55,000 miles just to come together. It was truly meaningful to have everyone prioritize this over his or her own school, work, and personal lives.
In the past, to bring our family together, we had several meetings where we purposefully blocked out time and gave each other updates. Because we hardly ever have the chance to talk as a group, we would take this time to brief each other on our life events and goals once a year. This trip, however, we decided to discuss our values. Because I had been in so many meetings with the President’s Culture Commission about the Barrett Values Assessment, I decided to give it a test run within my own family.
I asked three main questions: What are your personal values? What do you perceive our current family values to be? What would you like our family values to be?
The results were extremely interesting. While the personal values centered on softer skills and fascinating ones like efficiency, the current family values were clustered around words like accomplishment, recognition, and being the best. Where we wanted to head towards was compassion, integrity, and trust.
We spent over an hour discussing these differences and ultimately came to the conclusion that we could all be better and personify all of these wonderful traits. We even started a family pen pal system to have deeper and more regular conversations with one another.
This retreat and exercise may seem extreme for many people, but it was an amazing to do this with my family. Especially in such a beautiful place like Hawaii, it made sense to do some reflecting as a whole group. I am already looking to our next family retreat in January 2020!! More exercises are sure to come.