Granted, I’m still basking in the glow of a wonderful family vacation.
We had one whole week together, just the six of us, to play and learn and relax and have fun as a family, and I can’t remember when I’ve had a more delightful time. (I’ll be sharing, so stay tuned for details in a future post!)
Listen, family vacations are important. Families are busier and torn in more directions than ever before, which makes planned family time all the more essential.
Ah, but, Tanya! My grandparents and great-grandparents never went on family vacations! And their families didn’t seem to suffer for it in any way…
I don’t doubt that. To my knowledge my grandparents never took a vacation either. Surviving likely took up too much of their time! But those hard-working and often very poor families of the past typically spent far more time together than do families today, even if they spent much of it working together. And most of them would have gladly taken a vacation had they had access to the information and paid vacation time so many people enjoy today!
Now. I have no doubt there are some of you reading right now who might view this post as a bit naive and maybe even a little insensitive. After all, you’d love to take a family vacation, but life circumstances or financial issues make it impossible.
I get it. Really. And, believe me, there have been many times in our oh-so-humble past that we have had neither the free time nor the money for a family getaway like the one we just enjoyed.
But a family vacation can take many forms: It doesn’t have to be a 7-day, 7-night excursion to some far-off location or a long and amazing road trip. In fact, check out these ideas for how to save big on family vacations, and realize that yours can be a weekend getaway or just an overnight trip. It can be a couple of days spent camping or an inexpensive “staycation”. Family vacations don’t necessarily have to take a lot of time and money.
But that said, I do find that, generally speaking, people make the time and money for the things they want to do most. OF COURSE there are exceptions, but I’m always amused by the people I talk to who insist they can’t afford something, all while they’re sinking far more money into something else. I’m not implying there’s anything wrong with that provided people aren’t piling on debt in the process, but it shows that people have priorities. And when something is important to someone, they’ll go to great lengths to find the time and the money to make it happen.
And for most families, a family vacation of some form would do them a world of good.
Family vacations matter because they require intentional family time.
I’m not shy in my belief that too many families willingly and unnecessarily participate in so many activities that it works to divide and overwhelm them more than it offers any benefit. But at the same time, I know job responsibilities, school schedules, health issues, and a million other things can work together to prevent quality family time.
Family vacations offer purposeful, intentional family time. Shunning everything but the most necessary obligations and responsibilities can give us the opportunity to focus on our spouses and our children in ways the regular routine will never allow.
Family vacations tend to pivot around what’s best for the family. What could be better than that?
Family vacations matter because they are wonderful memory-makers.
So if you’ll allow me a moment to bare my soul here… I lost my mother to cancer when I was 11 and she was a mere 38 years old. My mom was ill and in and out of the hospital for the better part of my childhood. My memories of her as healthy and strong, I must admit, are few.
But during some of the good times, we took family vacations. We went to Florida one year and to the Smoky Mountains at least twice. They weren’t lavish trips by any stretch of the imagination, but I wouldn’t trade those vacations for anything in the world. They provide me some of the best, and only memories I have of my mother as a healthy, vibrant young woman.
While I have every intention of living a long and active life, I also don’t know what tomorrow holds. Not to mention the fact my kids will not always be under my care! My time with them is fleeting and I want to take advantage of every opportunity I can to make wonderful memories with my children.
Can I do that at home during our regular day-to-day activities? Absolutely! But sometimes it’s just easier to let go and have fun when some of the distractions of home and the weights of obligation have been stripped away for a time.
Family vacations matter because they build relationships.
We have a close family, but on this vacation I watched my kids interact with one another and enjoy one another in ways I have probably never seen before. There is something special about visiting new places and experiencing new things together and I loved the camaraderie it seemed to build in my children. And of course when you’re having fun together it’s much easier to forget the little things about one another you might normally find annoying!
I also think back to the time when my dad remarried and my stepmother became a part of the family. We took family vacations then, too, to places like the Grand Canyon, Washington, D.C., Asheville, North Carolina, the Shenandoah Valley, and more day trips around Kentucky than I could ever number. Those vacations were invaluable when it came to building and strengthening the new relationships in our family.