Family Retreats and Vacations with a Purpose

“ I sustain myself with the love of family.”
Maya Angelou

Family retreats and vacations with a purpose are a powerful tool to unite families around what matters most.

WHY HOLD A FAMILY RETREAT AND VACATION WITH A PURPOSE

We’ve arrived by Jeep, by plane, by car and by Harley. We’ve gathered at the family cabin in the Wasatch Mountains, the condo in St. George, the timeshares in Hawaii, and even the family room at our house.

It doesn’t matter how you get there or where you gather; it just matters that you get together, and that you do so with a purpose.

I’m talking about Family Retreats with a Purpose, an important tool for developing the Legacy Dimensions in your family.

Family Retreats with a Purpose can be as simple as an evening at your home or as elaborate as a several-day vacation. It can be held in conjunction with holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s.

It can also be a one-day getaway to an amusement park or a long weekend at the Grand Canyon.

PURPOSE DRIVEN ADVENTURES

The idea is to get together regularly (at least once a year, if not more), and along with fun activities, schedule time to reinforce family values, and participate in meaningful exercises.

These “purpose driven adventures” allow everyone to be involved and improve the family communication and unity. I could go on and on about the power of celebrating both the fun and fundamentals of life.

It’s a chance to slow the pace, create lasting memories, and pass along the values, beliefs, and experiences that matter to us. Essentially, you get away to come together.

THE BIRTH OF FAMILY RETREATS AND VACATIONS WITH A PURPOSE

For the past several years, Sharee and I have planned these Family Retreats with a Purpose. The concept sprang from professional strategies I’ve learned in collaborating with some of the top entrepreneurial think tanks in the country.

It’s been a blessing to associate with achievers on this level—each year I’m overwhelmed at how many true principles I’ve learned by gathering with some of America’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Holding retreats is something we teach at our events, and it’s also one of the modules in the Entitlement Abolition Kit. This is such a powerful vehicle for family unity and growth, I recommend taking a more in-depth look at how to plan yours.

HOW YOU CAN GET STARTED

But just to give you an idea, here’s how you can get started:

  • Schedule It – These getaways can be as short as an evening or as long as a week. Find what works for you and your schedule, and put it on everyone’s calendar.
  • Where in the World? – Next, decide where you’ll go. We’ve done Family Retreats with a Purpose at locations in Hawaii and the Wind Rivers of Wyoming, but we’ve also done retreats that are just an evening at the house or the family cabin. It doesn’t have to be expensive or luxurious; the point is just to get away from the day-to-day cares and distractions and focus on time together as a family.
  • Plan Meaningful Activities – This is more than a regular vacay. To get the most out of your getaway, you’ll want to plan purposeful activities. Borrow from our family activities—some of which I describe in my book Learning Curves and which I’ll illustrate later in this book, such as Unacceptable Detours & Dead Ends, What Matters Most, and I Remember When—or create your own. And don’t be surprised if at first you encounter some resistance to the meaningful activities (you likely will), but when your family experiences even one of these sessions, the bonding that follows can make everyone a believer. (Remember, recreate can also mean “re-create” as you sharpen your focus on the important things in life.)
  • Vacate from the “Busy-ness” of Life – Make your retreat a stress-free zone. Avoid the distractions of work, school, email, social media, etc., by encouraging time away from electronics so you can focus on the family.
  • Load Up on Fun - These events are not just serious. We’ve done Retreats with a Purpose that include camping, fishing, hiking, biking, snorkeling, scuba diving, golfing, etc. The secret recipe is to not only make them significant, but also to make them fun!

IMMEDIATE FAMILY, EXTENDED FAMILY, AND EVEN YOUR WORK TEAM

Now keep in mind, sometimes “family” doesn’t necessarily mean father, mother, and children. It can be just you and your spouse (Sharee and I get away for a long weekend at least every quarter at our cabin).

You can plan it with your immediate family, or even extended family (of course this also applies to friend getaways, too). And of course you can plan Retreats with a Purpose with your work team.

These intentional retreats, along with specific exercises and activities incorporated, have the power to transform your family or group, just as they have ours.

INTENTIONAL RETREATS WITH INTENTIONAL TOPICS

As we’ve gathered our family together we’ve taken on topics such as:

  • Teach responsibility and accountability
  • How to avoid making serious mistakes during your lifetime
  • Determine what matters most
  • How to transform negative experiences in life into positive outcomes
  • Become an intentional family
  • Develop a master plan for your bigger future

AN EXAMPLE OF HOW WE STRUCTURE OR RETREATS AND VACATIONS WITH A PURPOSE

To give you an idea of what has worked for the Andrew family, here’s the general flow of things at our biannual retreats in Maui, Hawaii, where we gather with the entire family, including adult children and their families (each family pays their own way):

  • We typically get away together for seven to ten days.
  • Before going, we determine a few things: primary purpose, secondary purpose, theme, and focused reading (uplifting books—one to read before arriving, one to read while there).
  • Once there, we gather every morning for a one-hour
    devotional.
  • The one-hour devotional is broken into two or three
    segments.
  • The first and/or second segments focus on different aspects of the Legacy Dimensions (Intellectual and Foundational), and are taught by different adult family members.
  • The third segment is usually a fun activity or game designed to engage the children.
  • We play, play, play the rest of the day.
  • Then we gather for dinner at night and share I Remember When stories (for more on I Remember When stories, see Chapter 9).
  • We follow dinner with an hour-long session, again broken into two or three segments.
  • The first segment delves into an aspect of our focused
    reading book.
  • The second segment focuses on family vision and personal goals (all reinforcing our Legacy Bank).
  • The third segment is story time and fun for the children.
  • In addition, we enact the $2 Rule (explained in Chapter 6 of Entitlement Abolition) the entire trip—which is a fun way to make sure everyone deals above the line of blame, justification, and shame.
  • We also have everyone focus on physical health by trying to cut calorie intake, wearing pedometers, and joining in optional family exercise at 7 am.

PLANNING YOUR OWN RETREAT

Just imagine the impact Family Retreats with a Purpose could have on your own family. To give you a little jump-start, here’s a basic checklist:

  • Location – Where would you like to hold your upcoming retreat?
  • Duration – How long would you like your retreat to last?
  • Dates – When do you want to get away with your family? Consider things like business, school, and sports schedules, but also set expectations that family members will need to prioritize the retreat, which may mean missing out on other activities.
  • Goals – What are your primary and secondary goals for the retreat?
  • Theme – What theme will you reinforce throughout the retreat?
  • Participants – Who will be included? Just adults? Children, as well? Is there a minimum age for young children?
  • Topics – What topics will you want speakers to cover during devotionals/sessions?
  • Speakers – Who will teach devotionals/sessions? Will you invite a guest speaker? If so, whom?
  • Legacy Bank Activities – What type of activities will you engage in to make deposits and withdrawals in the Legacy Bank? I Remember When? What Matters Most? Better Life Circle? Opportunity BREAK-through?
  • Fun – What type of recreation will be available? Will it be scheduled as a group or individual free time?
  • Roles – What role does each participant play in the retreat?
  • Agenda – Don’t try winging it—the more focused your agenda, the more successful your retreat will be. What will your agenda include?
  • Communication & Planning – What type of pre-retreat communication and planning needs to take place? Will there be reading or activity assignments before everyone
    arrives? How will you communicate retreat itineraries, agenda, goals, etc.?
  • Miscellaneous – Any other details to plan?
  • Frequency – How often do you want to hold subsequent retreats?

You can plan the retreat with your spouse, or include other family members in the decision-making process. Make sure to maintain a balance between fun and focus, so everyone can enjoy the retreat as much as they experience personal transformations.

EXAMPLES OF OTHER RETREATS AND VACATIONS WITH A PURPOSE

I’ve shared a lot about my own family’s Retreats with a Purpose, but keep in mind, as with any aspect of developing Authentic Wealth, it’s important to make it your own.

One of our Legacy Coaches, for example, holds much less formal Family Retreats with a Purpose. His children range in age from high school to elementary school, and they dedicate just fifteen minutes each morning to discussions and lessons on their values, good books, etc. (Some mornings the discussions naturally extend to thirty or forty minutes because the children are so engaged.)

After the morning session, they head out for a day of fun, and that’s the extent of the formal discussion time.

We have clients who, when they first learned about Retreats with a Purpose, didn’t have children of their own. They planned a trip with their nieces and nephews—and on the first morning when Uncle Phil started teaching a lesson with a whiteboard, they asked if this was some kind of trick.

But Uncle Phil stuck with his purpose-driven agenda, and in the end, all of the nieces and nephews said it was the best trip they’d ever been on. This couple now holds Retreats with a Purpose with their own children, who look forward to it every year.

Another couple implementing our Entitlement Abolition Kit recently tested out their first Retreat with a Purpose. They hosted their grandchildren on a trip to a cabin on the lake, just a couple hours north of Salt Lake City.

Their agenda was simple: go get ice cream shakes and, on the way, stop by a special historic/religious site and share their thoughts on family values; go boating; go to a movie; and visit the local cemetery and share inspiring stories about the great-grandparents buried there.

The trip was a hit with the grandkids, and they can’t wait to add more teaching elements to their plans next summer.

DON'T PROCRASTINATE YOUR FIRST RETREAT OR VACATION WITH A PURPOSE

Whatever you do, however you strategize your retreat … don’t wait. Start planning now for your own Retreats with a Purpose.

If it’s with community or work groups, leverage the opportunity to grow closer, to redefine what matters most to the organization and to the individuals involved.

If it’s with your family, use the retreats as an opportunity to add to your Legacy Bank. Share memories from those that have wisdom, teach principles that lay a foundation for real prosperity, and most of all, make sure those around you know how much you love them.