Day 2: MFLN Virtual Conference Conversation

Welcome to day two of the MFLN Virtual Conference! Today’s sessions cover a wide variety of perspectives, from personal change right on through to organizational change.

Barbara Thompson and Judi Dekle start our day with discussions about change from a policy standpoint, particularly within the military landscape. They sift through the challenges, opportunities, and benefits related to policy changes supporting military family readiness, and remind us of the value and power of DoD’s Family Readiness System.

Christian Waugh then brings the conversation to a personal level as he addresses the connections between positive emotions and resilience, as well as the importance of positive emotions in stress management during times of change.

We’re covering lots of ground today! What are you learning? Do you have a “change story” to share, whether from a personal growth experience, from an organization-wide shift, or on any level in between? What are you taking with you from these sessions today?

Please share your thoughts below as a comment! We look forward to hearing from you!

-Brigitte Scott,
Director of Program Development and Evaluation, MFLN

0 Replies to “Day 2: MFLN Virtual Conference Conversation”

  1. Resources for “Navigation Skills: Charting Your Course through Organizational, Social and Culture Change”
    Christopher Plein

    On behalf of our team, thanks to all who participated in today’s virtual conference session on “Navigation Skills” that featured Judi Dekle and Barbara Thompson. We had some great conservations and many great resources were shared. Below is a preliminary and far from exhaustive list. We wanted to get these to everyone while the conversation and thoughts were still fresh.

    We had some great discussions today and identified some resources that might help you as you navigate your journey of organizational change. Below are some helpful links to consider.

    For those interested in the policy and program history of the Family Readiness System, take a look at

    There are many websites that can help families and professionals understand and deal with change. As we learned one of the most important is the DOD’s own Military One Source resource which can be accessed at: This portal provides a pathway to many different resources for military families and military support professionals.

    We also discussed how universities have been involved military family readiness and related policy matters. Take a look at resources offered by Perdue University Military Research Initiative at

    Consider the University of Minnesota’s REACH program, available at . In addition, the Clearing House for Military Family Readiness at Penn State offers some great resources at

    Of course, our own Military Families Learning Network offers broad programming through webinars, blogs, and other means that touch on issues of organizational change and family readiness. As mentioned today, some recent blogs have focused on this such as Chris Plein’s two recent blogs on health policy change /2017/08/11/encountering-change-what-compromise-can-teach-us-2/ and /2017/08/04/encountering-change-what-history-can-teach-us/ and Caitlin Brown’s exploration of family change in /2017/09/18/changing-it-up-an-invitation-to-explore-change/

    And as mentioned in today’s session, in October 2016 the “Building Blocks for Military Family Readiness” webinar offered October 2016 by the Family Transitions and Community Capacity Teams and featuring Judi Dekle. You can find it at:

    There are other resources out there as well that we did not touch on today that can be of assistance. For example, Blue Star Families is a helpful resource for military families see
    We want to thank you all today for being part of our discussion, we will post other resources and please add your own.

      1. There were many insights from today’s sessions that resonated with me, but here are two takeaways from today and two enduring themes I’ve noted across our session so far:

        Barbara and Judi had some great insights for navigating organizational and policy change. One suggestion was to ask these questions when confronting what might seem like impossible change: (1) What if. . . (e.g., tradition is part of the problem)? (2) What else. . . (e.g., can I see/am I missing)? (3) Who cares. . . (e.g. about my interests, my insights, my frustrations)?

        These questions lead me to the first enduring theme: battle buddies! Find your battle buddy to validate your ideas and interests, vent when you need to, run your ideas by, and navigate a course of change with!

        One of my takeaways from Christian’s session is that resilience requires flexibility. And flexibility is what allows us to leverage positive emotions when we can, and sit with negative emotions when we need to. (And our battle buddy helps us know the difference!)

        The second enduring theme: exercise those resilience muscles! As we learned yesterday, resilience can be learned, supported, and built.

        Thanks to our presenters and participants for creating such rich learning experiences! We are so glad you are joining us for this week of Learning through Change!

        1. Brigette, you did a great job summarizing. I though Christian made excellent pints about how we have negative and positive emotions at the same time!

  2. Here are some of my “take aways” from today’s session with Dr. Waugh (Bending Not Breaking):

    Main difference between resilient and less resilient people are positive emotions

    Chat pod quote: “Bloom where you are planted” when flexibility was discussed

    Positive and negative emotions are independent & interacting systems in the brain…this is great news because we can experience both simultaneously. We don’t have to be ashamed of having both joy and grief, for instance.

    Positive emotions have the power to “get you back in the game”

    The do’s and don’ts were great reminders too:
    Do: feel contentment, find meaning, savor moments, be social, find ways to have experiences instead of products
    Don’t: FAKE positive emotions, focus on fleeting pleasures, feel the need for constant positive emotions

  3. This morning’s session had so many wonderful insights and learning moments that it would be impossible for me to share all of them! But, one of the most poignant ‘take-aways’ for me was Barbara and Judy’s reflection on being a ‘lifelong learner’- that even seasoned professionals have things to learn from the newcomers, and the idea of steering away from physical isolation from others, as you can then be cheating yourself out of opportunities to learn new things! A brilliant sentiment and one that I will carry with me forever!

  4. Dr. Waugh’s “dos and don’ts” were thought-provoking, especially in the context of how many people are socialized to act/respond to change, crisis, etc. We also thought his recommendations on use of positive emotions during acute/chronic stress was very helpful. His tips on identifying phases of stress will be helpful in taking a step-wise approach to managing those stressors and becoming more resilient.

    1. I enjoyed the great perspectives on change in the Family Readiness System through the excellent discussion provided by Judi Dekle and Barbara Thompson this morning. They have provided a library of more than 30 excellent resources for those interested in supporting family readiness. Click the link below to access these resources!

  5. Thanks for all of the great reflections! I really appreciated Barbara Thompson & Judith Dekle’s session on navigating change. I appreciated the conversation about the role and challenges of the Family Readiness System in helping military families navigate change. Thinking about how families want to receive information and services is critical. In addition, providing support to the family members who are non military ID holders is important as well — because these individuals provide support to Service members during times of change resonated with me. The Family Readiness System is truly the ‘large web’ that helps Service members and their families navigate change …

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