Meeting Guidelines

Posted by Williams under on Wednesday Feb 11, 2015

Prince William Chapter of the Compassionate Friends Meeting Guidelines:

  • We are all grieving parents who have lost children.  How they died is but a footnote to the story of your child.  We do not judge or look down on anyone because of how their children died.  We all are tied together by the loss of our children.  As the motto states:  “We Need Not Walk Alone.”
  • We are happy that you have found us but sad that we had to meet you this way.
  • Feel free to speak or not speak as you see fit.  Sometimes sitting and listening is what we need.  Please respect others decisions in regards to this and do not pressure them to talk.
  • Confidentiality: Whatever is shared within the group remains confidential. Please be discrete outside this setting and respect other parents’ right to privacy. It is not enough to conceal names; situations can be recognized as well.  As the saying goes “What happens at the meeting stays at the meeting.”
  • Respect must also be shown for the person speaking by giving him or her the group’s undivided attention. Side conversations are disruptive and discouraged.  If there is a need for a side discussion, please excuse yourself from the meeting and hold your discussion somewhere private.
  • Participants are welcome to ask questions, make suggestions, or just listen.
  • Be considerate to others and limit the amount of time that you speak so that others may also speak.  If what you want to discuss is going to be more than 10 minutes, we can either come back to you or we can talk after the meeting one on one instead of taking up every one else’ time.
  • Our meeting is a safe haven for sharing.  There are no right or wrong comments or feelings to express about one’s own situation.
  • Make every effort not to compare the importance or intensity of your struggles with those of someone else.
  • Consider others. Please be non-judgmental and non-prying. Respect must be shown for life circumstances such as religion, sexual orientation, ethnic background, etc.
  • We will all try to be careful with our language.  We discourage the continued use of profanity though we understand that occasionally it is used.
  • Try to attend more than one meeting. The first experience often feels somewhat disorienting; group cohesiveness and value take time to build.  Try to attend at least three meetings before making a decision on whether our group is a good fit for you or not.
  • Every effort will be made for meetings to start and end on time.  Though occasionally situations come up that are beyond our control.
  • During the Welcome Session of the Meeting. we will go around the room and each person can either share Their Name, Their Child’s Name and the relationship, The Cause and How Long it has been since the death or they may pass and not speak.  You may also share any other details you may want to though we try to keep this session brief so that we can get to the heart of the meeting and discussion.

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