— Notes from Tom and Sharon Baring, Leader Couple from Fairbanks, Alaska
On Oct. 29th, 2016, Sharon and I led our first 4 1/2 hour introductory CE workshop. One of our intentions was to serve couples as busy as ourselves, with demanding jobs and full-on parenting roles. As we both work in the schools, a shorter format works better for us too, at least during the school year.
Six couples and one man, whose partner was absent, participated. In addition, we had timed the event to include Mike and Marsha Green, visiting from Durham, NC, and Cathy Walling and Scott Bell of Fairbanks, both veteran CE leader couples, so there were 19 people total.
We introduced listening, speaking and witnessing concepts by, primarily, drawing out the wisdom and experience of the group. Eager for early and frequent practice, we included mini-dialogs for each of these three skills. We had 1/2 hour for lunch, and then split into three groups for witnessed couple dialogs.
Mike and Marsha led two follow-up opportunities for dialoging, one and two weeks later. Of the original thirteen participants, eight attended one or both of these events. By this measure of interest, we deem the event a success.
One change we’ll make when we lead our next short format workshop will be to avoid a rushed lunch. We may shift the event to start at 9:00 am and offer an optional lunch when it ends at 1:30, having a hearty snack break midway.