Tuesday, June 21, 2011


After the record snowfalls of last winter and the savage storms of this past spring, today, June 21, we welcome summer. What summer will bring is yet to be seen. But no matter what is ahead, one thing is for certain: summer remains that time of the year when millions head out on that annual respite known as "the family vacation."

Whether sailing the high seas or jetting to some distant destination, families are looking forward to exploring exotic locations, while getting pampered in the process. During these much-anticipated junkets parents look forward to their children being entertained and fussed over while the grown-ups enjoy time alone for adult activities. The demands of home and job are forgotten as the family is taken care of in a way that will make life-long memories.

Some families will be driving across the country to experience the sights and sounds up close and personal. They look forward to showing the children the history and beauty of this nation, seeing with their own eyes the places they read about in history books. Long days of road tripping are washed away as the family jumps into a motel pool and savors local fare at an area diner. Parents relish their family's time together as they share classic anecdotes, favorite stories and songs they've all sung for years. Children call out with the obligatory "Are we there yet?" as they scan a countryside they've never seen before or haven't seen since last year's trip.

Some families are taking to the roads to connect with far-flung kinfolk who live at the end of the journey. Here the grandchildren get bounced on their grandparent's knees, nieces and nephews catch up on the exciting events taking place in their lives and cousins relive the days spent at the "children's table." Visiting family members living in different parts of the country ties the generations together with the thread of common experiences.

Some families opt out from hitting the road and try the "staycation" route. On this vacation, routine goes out the window as children get ice cream for supper, roast hot dogs over the grill for breakfast and parents are the ones sleeping in. On this go-nowhere venture, parents have to be careful not to slip into an un-fun routine of working around the house though. Nothing takes the sweetness out of time off from work than time spent working at home. Done right this break is perfect for movie marathons, going to ballgames, family bike rides, a day trip to a local museum, kids camping in the backyard and loads of sugar.

Summer vacation -- it's when the days last longer, the stars shine brighter and a field of fireflies turn on and off like little, floating lanterns, waiting for kids to cup them in their hands and drop them in a mason jar, complete with air holes punched in the top.

Whether you are planning a road trip or a stay-at-home vacation, I would suggest one activity that would be beneficial would be to let the family see a different side of you. Use this time to let your kids know what it was like when you were their age; tell them what you dreamed about as a kid; let them know you were young once -- and cool! Summer vacation is also a good time to tell them about their grandparents and the great parents you had. Through it all share with your kids how important God is in your life. Fortunately, the easiest way to do that is by just being there with them, loving them and having a blast together.

And isn't that what a summer vacation is all about?

Happy first day of summer!

No comments :