Teen Retreats Weaken Power Dynamics
Power dynamics result from the use of age, class, and/or gender to place control over another being. And as a teenager, you’ve probably noticed power dynamics in the form of an authoritative figure stifling your voice. But never fear, as teen retreats are to power dynamics what kryptonite is to Superman.
I met a peer during my most recent retreat who was dealing with some friction between them and their daughter. But instead of ignoring this friction, my peer chose to investigate it some more. It was beautiful to watch them embrace all the nitty gritty feelings that were coming up. Their experience evoked gratitude within me. A deep gratitude for their willingness to touch feelings of regret, sadness, and resentment. But their experience also sparked a deep desire in me. A desire for all parents to be in a space where they feel comfortable touching and investigating the dynamics that are so deeply ingrained in authority.
Whether the relationship between the parent and the child changed, that requires a check in. But I know this for certain: retreat helped spark a greater awareness of how power is used in their parent/child relationship.
Teen Retreats Promote Open And Honest Dialogue
I’ve attended a few iBme retreats in the Northeast and I can truly attest to how dedicated the staff have been to making us teens feel heard. As a result, the door for open and honest dialogue between adult and youth is burst wide open.
At the 2016 Summer Northeast retreat, I finally realized how diligently the staff works to create a space capable of holding any and all rising feelings and/or actions. This space is often referred to as the container. And I’ve found that one of the most significant results of having the container is the encouragement of open and honest dialogue, which is conversation that promotes deep listening and mindful discussion.
I’ve had so many raw and inspiring conversations with my adult peers by speaking openly and honestly with them. They’ve taught me a couple lessons, but the one that I hold dearly states there’s no age where you’re supposed to have your life “together”. Whether “together” presents itself in the form of a surplus of money, a family, or tons of happiness, I’ve learned that it’s difficult to force consistency on things that are subject to change. Otherwise, we risk bypassing our struggles, leaving the issues to rot in the background.
And although teen retreats are largely centered around, well, teens… I enjoy taking in whatever stories my adult peers are willing to share. Adults have problems they’re dealing with too, and the ability to engage in open and honest dialogue works to make people feel seen and heard. I’m grateful for all of the check-ins, hot-seats, and shoe games we do at iBme because feeling seen and heard is a valuable opportunity that many people often miss out on.
Teen Retreats Offer A Safe Space For Learning
The final reason why all adults should attend retreat ties back to the container I spoke about earlier.
At the 2016 Northeast Summer Retreat, a fortified container helped hold all the breakthroughs that were happening throughout the week. At the previous Northeast New Years Retreat, the container held so many lessons learned and lessons in-progress of being learned. My point being? Everything in life is a learning process and at retreat, this truism is taken into account. Teen retreats provide a safe space to make a mistake, realize you’ve made a mistake, and learn from that mistake.
About the writer: Armani-Marie Mendez first attended iBme retreats while in high school in Brooklyn, and is now studying Food and Nutritional Sciences at Hunter College.