As part of the on-going 20th anniversary celebrations of London Mandir, three seminars fostering family harmony were organised around the UK in the presence of sadhus from India, including Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami.
The seminars were held at BAPS Swaminarayan mandirs in London and Leicester on Saturday 18 April and in Manchester on Sunday 19 April 2015. They aimed to bring families closer together by helping to improve communication, enhance understanding, and strengthen unity.
The programme for the day-long seminar was delivered through a variety of formats, including insightful speeches, video presentations, practical exercises, and interactive discussions.
Ishwarcharan Swami spoke of the importance of mutual understanding, patience, flexibility and tolerance as the bedrock of a sturdy family bond.
An informative panel discussion provided practical guidance for delegates as sadhus shared inspiring accounts of harmonious families from around the world.
Discussions tailored for different age groups explored the impact of media upon family relationships and how it can be used positively to strengthen family ties. The discussions were supported by video blessings from Pramukh Swami Maharaj and senior sadhus.
Families also spent time together in a fun group activity where they were challenged to construct a crane from basic paper tools. Fathers, mothers and siblings worked as teams to plan, design and build their working model. At the end, family members reflected together on lessons they learned from the activity and how they applied to their home. They also gathered to have a family photograph taken as a take-home memento of the seminar.
Another opportunity for collective introspection and heartfelt discussion came as families worked through an evaluation form from which they could glean matters especially worthy of addressing within their family.
Ishwarcharan Swami offered further guidance thereafter, stressing an open mind and a forgiving heart as essential to keeping family relationships firm and healthy.
Swamishri’s video blessings reinforced the messages imbibed throughout the day providing a fitting conclusion to each highly educational and inspiring seminar.
One young mother of two shared: “This seminar has taught us how to be more open with each other. My sons were saying that they feel they can discuss things now that we couldn’t before. It’s completely changed our outlook, and I can see the difference already.”
Another parent, after attending the seminar in Leicester, added: “We all got a better understanding of each other and as the seminar progressed we learned to work better as a team.”
A young attendee at Manchester simply wrote: “Today I learned how to become a better daughter to my parents and be a better sister to my brother.”
Over 1,100 such individuals benefitted from the three seminars in the UK. A further three seminars are soon to be conducted in Europe – in Paris (France), Antwerp (Belgium), and Lisbon (Portugal).