Conferences: A Great Way to Learn Together

family Oct 08, 2023
Conferences: A Great Way to Learn Together

“To prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

– Ephesians 4:12


 

Introduction

We attend conferences multiple times per year. We often choose ones that discuss Christian leadership, philanthropy, marriage, medicine, and nonprofits that we support. Sometimes, we go as a couple and have a little getaway. But most of the time, we try to bring our kids with us as often as possible. We’ve discovered that even if a conference isn’t directed at children, our entire family greatly benefits from attending together.

 

Learning As a Family

When choosing a conference, we intentionally select those that will be of interest to our family or show our support for a specific organization. Medical conferences don’t usually offer sessions or lectures that are particularly kid-friendly, but we still try to choose ones that are structured in a family-friendly way. Occasionally, they do offer a workshop or highlight a speaker that can be appreciated by all of us. One year, we attended the Mid-American Orthopedic conference where we heard from a POW. Our kids still talk about him and his amazing story.

Even when there aren’t other children around at these conferences, we’ve found ways to help our own kids function well in a unique environment. First, we make sure that they get enough sleep and prepare them for how they can expect the day to unfold. Our girls will often bring quiet activities - books, activity books, art, etc. - to do during sessions. We also make sure to have plenty of snacks. Having busy hands and a sweet treat can make sitting still and listening so much easier for kids!

When we go to conferences as a couple, we make efforts to make the lessons take root in our minds. If a specific author will be present, we make sure to read their book before we attend. While we are at the conference, we like to go walking during breaks to discuss what we’ve heard and process the information together. If something has really captured our attention, we write it down so we can do further research once we’re home.

 

Family Fun (yes, really!)

“Fun” might not be the first word you think of when attending a conference, but they really can present you with opportunities for a great time! Many times, conference locations are chosen because of the amenities offered in the host city, and having an afternoon to explore a new place as a family can be a ton of fun. We also don’t feel the pressure to attend every single bit of a conference, and so we skip sessions that aren’t applicable to our family; we find something fun to do with the kids instead. Sometimes that means trying a new restaurant, going out with friends we’ve made, swimming at a hotel pool, or finding a local ice cream shop. And of course, there’s always the not-exciting-but-still-wonderful option of heading back to the hotel for an hour or two of napping and rest time.

 

Life-Long Learning

Conferences give us the opportunity to learn about ideas, or get tips on areas of our lives that could use improvement. They are also a great way to expose our kids to other topics in home education. We get to learn together, which is a wonderful bonding experience and allows us to model for our kids the truth that education is a lifelong endeavor.

 

Conclusion

Attending conferences as a family is a wonderful practice that allows each member to grow in knowledge. Though we all sit in the same sessions, kids will often pick up on different emphases than the parents. It is always fascinating to hear our children’s perspectives and see what ideas have made an impression in their minds. If you’re planning to attend a conference this year, we encourage you to consider bringing your kids along for the ride!

 

Key Points

  • Don’t underestimate what your kids can do if you’re properly prepared, and don’t be afraid to bring your kids to conferences that are designed for adults. They could be beneficial to your whole family.
  • Attending conferences can be a good way to learn, have fun, and connect as a family.
  • By attending conferences, we can use the gifts of knowledge and learning to give God glory.
  • Make sure your kids are well-fed, have enough sleep, and are prepared with snacks and quiet activities during sessions.

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