As I write this, I’m packing because Steve and I are leaving for vacation early tomorrow morning. Ah, there’s nothing quite like vacation! This year, we’ll have three of our four kids and their families with us. Eight of our nine grandkids will be there. As I’ve been packing, I’ve been thinking about the reasons why vacations are so important. Here are my top three reasons:
- Vacation is a great time for rest and play.
Our bodies, minds, and souls were not designed to work 24/7. This is why God instituted the Sabbath. He wired us to need rest and a change of pace. By creating the space to rest and play, you remind yourself that you’re not God and that you need to trust Him with all that needs to be accomplished. On top of that, when you create the space to “play” with family, you create memories and cultivate close family ties.
Some of my best memories with our kids were playing kick the can out under the stars at campsites. Swimming, boogie boarding, and building sand castles at the beach was great fun. We didn’t realize how important those memories were for our kids until they were much older.
- Vacation is a great time for God discussions.
For our family, time away from the pressures of work and homework allowed us to have amazing conversations with our kids about God.
Every vacation we chose a theme for Family Time with God, and then the kids took turns leading those times. One year the theme was Jesus by the water. Another year we looked the miracles of Jesus. The kids loved planning and leading. As they got older, we studied the book of James and the book of Philippians. Our Family Times with God weren’t really long—maybe only 20-30 minutes—but they gave us time to focus our thoughts on Christ and His desires for our lives.
This year as we head to the beach we’re going to have our four oldest grandkids take charge of our God discussions. Two of them are seven, and two are five. Each one will plan to teach us a story about Jesus. This will be an amazing way to get a glimpse inside their hearts. We’ll find out which Bible stories they like best and why. I seriously can’t wait to see what they choose.
- Vacation is a great time to prioritize listening to those you love.
Away from the chaos of life, vacation is a great time to prioritize listening. Go for a walk with your spouse and ask about a dream they have. Or sit with one of your kids and ask them what they’re hoping for during the upcoming autumn. Ask what the biggest challenge they have faced in the past 12 months is, and then listen. Simply listen!
Play the “Would You Rather” game. Would You Rather is simply a game you can play even with small kids to discover their personal preferences. You ask questions to draw out the feelings of others. For example: “Would you rather own a pet giraffe or a pet donkey?” Or for older family members, “Would you rather visit Greece or Ireland?” Let everyone help come up with the questions.
I tried to remind myself often when I was raising kids that how I listened when they were young would determine how much they would talk when they were older.
Question: Are you taking a vacation this year? Why are vacations important to you?