Becky and I have the pleasure of introducing guest blogger, Julie Sanders, to you. You will LOVE Julie’s heart and perspective.
Faith, hope, and love,
For some couples, it’s the quiet before the flurry called summer vacation. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day bookend the last quiet before the intense pursuit of golden family memories. While moms and dads invest in planning moments worthy of Facebook sharing, the very treasure their kids long for might slip through their parents’ frantic fingers. It’s easy to lose sight of what matters most if we don’t head into vacation season with eyes wide open.
Dream vacations may mean couples contend with added financial pressure, long lists of preparations, and challenges to parenting and work routines. Stress has a way of mounting when one or both parents hold to an ideal experience. Vacations can drive couples apart or bring them together. More than a dream vacation, kids long for memories of their family as a unit, of mom and dad working as a team, and of faith that sets them apart.
The real value of a vacation is time. Unlike regular schedules bursting at the seams, vacation days provide families with quality family time, couple time, and heart time. Even Jesus invited his band of disciples to “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).
Family time brings all of the crew together. Since modern families live scattered, time away unites them in one place, removing distractions that split them apart. A seaside cottage, family tent, cramped condo, or just-big-enough hotel room bonds them in ways only possible on vacation. Sweet family time is within reach if we value:
- Inclusion of all individuals
- Cooperation instead of control
- Kindness instead of conflict
Couple time on vacation provides a sometimes too-rare chance for children to see parents loving each other and working as a team. Instead of believing every plan has kids at the center, parents plant cherished memories in the hearts of children when they model togetherness. A child’s spirit finds refreshment and strength by seeing mom and dad snagging some R&R together and enjoying it. Make couple time a priority by:
- Having coffee in bed together
- Putting in a movie for the kids
- Arranging your beach chairs side by side
- Holding hands with each other, not just kids
- Play a game together while kids play their own
- Savoring a kiss in a photo
Heart time on vacation makes the most of focused family time. While we plan carefully for our travel, meals, activities, and lodging, vacation matters more when we plan to invest in a child’s heart. Soften the soil of their spirit with fun, laughter, discovery, and adventure, but then plant seeds of faith. Use time away to show them what makes your family’s faith precious. Make vacation mean more by:
- Choosing a verse to learn together
- Bringing a story to read each day in parts
- Praying with a plan & including everyone
- Journaling your journey, including spiritual pieces
- Incorporating worship music to enjoy as you travel
- Declaring a character goal to work on as a family
Mother’s Day is over and Father’s Day is around the corner. Summer vacation is close behind. Couples can give their kids a vacation that means more than just fun, if they consider the value of family time, couple time, and heart time when planning. Kids may see the wonders of the world, but what they long for is to see mom and dad working as a team to make the most of family time away. Take your eyes off of the ideal and work together to give your kids a vacation for the good of their lifetime.
Julie Sanders is the mother of two nearly grown children and has been married to her husband for 24 years. From their home & ministry base in the Southeastern United States, they enjoy teaching & serving overseas. As a Women’s Ministry Director, her local and global ministry to women has made her passionate about the issue of human trafficking. You can also find more from Julie over at her Facebook author page.