I just returned from a 5-day ski trip with my wife and children and extended family to Steamboat Springs, CO . I snapped this picture on the last night - catching the Balloon Glow at the base in Mountain Village. Watching the balloons fire up with rock music going was great and several runs on the mountain were lit up for night skiing. The weather was perfect this past weekend - sunny clear skies and lots of powder. This is one of our favorite annual vacation spots. I thought I would include this trip in my post today to zero in on the importance of vacations.
Why We Need Vacations
Jill and I try to take several different kinds of vacations throughout the year. The ski trip would be the first in the winter, right after school has begun and taking advantage of a 3-day weekend for school holidays. We take another trip during spring break – last year we went to Gulf Shores, Alabama which was awesome. In the summer we attend Pine Cove Family Camp with a group of about 25 other families. We each also take one or two individual vacations alone – Jill goes scrapbooking with friends and I go work on my tree farm in East Texas. Taking vacations throughout the year gives us something to look forward to, energizes us in the middle of very busy schedules, and exposes us to new experiences, people, and places. I have also found that in our family we have been able to mend relational tensions since usually everyone’s guard is dropped and we’re all more receptive. It is like the down time makes us want to do whatever we can to make our family better.
Planning a Vacation
Here are some pointers in planning a great family get-a-way:
- Include everyone in the process of selecting the destination. For children this dramatically enhances their self-esteem.
- Ask children what steps are needed to plan for the trip. Children that are included in family planning and decision-making tend to grow up to be better planners and decision-makers than their peers.
- Ask around for great places and good deals. Budget the expense ahead of time. Some families plan several years for a significant excursion. Use the budget process to instruct children on delayed gratification – going without some pleasures now to save up for a fun vacation or an equipment purchase, etc.
- Do the hard work before, during and after for the welfare of your family. Family vacations take work, you’ll feel better when you do the work earlier than later. Include children here as well. This reinforces thinking ahead for what is needed.
- Finally, take in the Wow! experiences and respond to your spouse and child’s Wow! moments as well. Get excited about what excites them and it will make you feel more connected.