Life in the Slow Lane: Ideas for Vacationing At Home
- Vyckie Bennett <i>Agape Press</i>
- 2004 7 Jul
Home really is sweet, don't you think? The truth be told, we live in such a hurried society that it's quite possible you haven't been at home enough lately to know what sort of atmosphere prevails within.
With today's hectic schedules, the mix of practices, lessons, and work hours keep kids and grown-ups alike on the go. According to research by the University of Minnesota, in the past 20 years, there has been a 33 percent decline in the number of families who eat dinner together regularly. Surveys show that fathers spend only a few minutes a day with their children. In fact, the average time father and son spend alone together is seven and one-half minutes a week.
Family time is something we all say we value, but few of us actually experience. Sadly, many Christians will spend a significant amount of money on vacation this summer only to return home exhausted, stressed-out, and frustrated as that hoped-for family togetherness once again proves to be elusive.
Planning, packing and unpacking, long car rides ("Are we there yet?") or stressful plane trips, expensive motels, crowded theme parks (hopefully you will miss "Gay Days"), cheap Made-In-China souvenirs that are not inexpensive -- and for all our effort, the children whine, bicker, or get sick (they're stressed-out and tired too). Did someone remember to pack a bottle of Tylenol?
Before you blow the budget on a trip to one of America's major theme parks, consider taking a family vacation at home this year. At-home vacations allow you to spend a quantity of quality time with your family. Here are a few hints to spark some creative ideas of your own:
• Clean the house in advance and then do only minimal housework while on vacation -- use paper plates and let the laundry pile up.
• Cook meals ahead and freeze them, stock up on convenience foods, barbeque, or call for pizza delivery.
• Obviously, you'll want to turn the telephone ringer off (this is why voice mail was invented) and unplug the computer -- no web-browsing for parents or computer games for the kids. Consider setting the television out in the garage -- a vacation from the tube can be more refreshing than the most luxurious resort.
• Avoid the morning rush -- sleep in. Encourage the children to pile in bed with you and start your day with Dad leading family devotions -- simply reading from the Psalms and singing a few praise choruses will set the tone for a Christ-honoring day.
• Set up a tent and wading pool in the backyard. Bring out a small stereo and enjoy your favorite Christian CD while relaxing in the sun.
• Dig out all the games, crafts, sporting equipment and other hobbies that you've invested in but never found time to actually play with the children.
• Read books -- lots of them. Read aloud to the children and silently to yourself -- catch up on that stack of magazines sitting on your nightstand.
• Talk. Take a nap. Give the little ones a bubble bath. Do nothing.
Spending your vacation at home can be a truly satisfying experience with long-term benefits as your family just might want to adopt a lifestyle of togetherness. You'll soon discover that home really is sweet once you and the children have been there long enough to develop a taste for it.
Vyckie Bennett home schools her seven children in Northeast Nebraska. She and her husband, Warren, publish a monthly, pro-family newspaper, the Nebraska Civic Digest (http://www.ncdweb.net).
© 2004 Agape Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.