That’s been our summer in a nutshell. Seems like the best kind of summer vacation if you ask me.
Love, laughter, fun, food, and water balloons…
There’s always water balloons.
Maybe I’m a little biased because we grew up with very modest means, but the whole idea of “family vacations” seems to have gotten a little blown out of proportion to me. We only ever took one family vacation that didn’t involve going to visit family. One.
Our vacations were traveling to see our extended family. Going to weddings, graduations, baptisms, communions, birthdays, family reunions…we stayed with family, ate with family, visited with family.
I’ve never been to Disney.
We don’t have family in Florida.
And I didn’t go to the beach for the first time until I was in college. (Ok, I mean the beach at the ocean–I’ve been going to the beach at Lake Erie since I was very young. We have family in Erie.)
Am I against family vacations? Heck no! I look forward to taking my kids to Disney, or to the Grand Canyon, or on a cruise. One day. But I’ve seen how totally wiped-out and over-stimulated my kids are just from the last few weeks of visiting family at our own house, and I don’t want to rush that day. I wonder if we, as loving parents, are so keyed into giving our kids the best possible experiences that we sometimes miss the forest for the trees.
As parents our time is limited. Not just daily, but in total. Our time of influence, our time of molding, our time of shaping their character and cementing their lifelong values.
The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. That can be good news or bad. For better or worse, we are modeling a set of values that our children will absorb and either follow or react against for the rest of their lives.
I think family vacations should be about family bonds–not about constant commercial entertainment. I would much rather my kids have lasting relationships with their real, extended family than lasting memories of meeting Snow White. What values are we modeling with how we spend our precious summer vacation time and money? I’m so glad we got to spend such fabulous summer time with our family. Young kids are easier to please than we give them credit for and our kids have had a blast! I mean, water balloons and popsicles and horse-back riding and a movie and a sleepover all in the same day? And all with a house full of cousins?
They didn’t know summer could be this good!
And I can’t wait to have those wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime memory vacations as well. When I’m sure that my children have absorbed enough of our family values to keep it in perspective.