November 13, 2013, Epoch Times
The alarm goes off; Dad’s heading out the door; Mom’s putting the finishing touches on lunch boxes; somehow or another breakfast happens and the work/school day begins.
Before the sun goes down, dinner happens; after school activities conclude and are followed by baths and the nighttime routine. With children fast asleep, Mom and Dad try to get their work and chores to a stopping point and prepare for the next day when they’ll do it all again.
Does this sound at all familiar? This is basically how it goes down in our house and a similar daily hustle is performed by many families every day.
This is the rhythm of modern life. Hopefully, many cool things go on within this construct and there is great comfort in routine.
However, there are also great advantages to regularly stepping off the hamster wheel from time to time and getting away as a family. Here’s why you might want to plan a weekend escape for your family:
Even before you actually hit the road for your journey, there are the days and weeks leading up to your little trip where you’ll plan out the details and get excited for the adventure that awaits. Somehow, having something fun and different to look forward to makes the daily grind a bit less grinding.
This can also be a great period of learning for kids. Involve them in the planing process. Discuss activities, costs, routes, packing needs, restaurants, etc. Let them make some decisions or at least have a vote. They will be totally invested.
Take this idea further by researching the place you’ll visit—its history, landmarks, and famous residents.
For adults, the time leading up to the trip can be very productive. Have you noticed that before a vacation you are compelled to tie up lose ends? Productivity guru David Allen talks about this in his book, “Getting Things Done.” He says, “Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation, but it’s not because of the vacation itself. What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You clean up, close up, clarify, and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others.” Too true. You’ll come back to a clean slate on Monday.
The Journey, Not the Destination
When it’s time to head out, don’t forget to enjoy the ride!
If you are flying to your destination, bring a bag of fun and surprises for the kids to discover on the plane, along with creative things for them to do. Enjoy together the interesting sites of the airport and the plane. Arrive early to avoid stress.
More likely, you’ll hit the road. To make the most of it, plot fun stops along the way. Pack drinks and snacks. Bring books and information about your destination. Involve the kids each step of the way. Someone can be the navigator, someone the banker, tracking costs.
Keep the DVD player off and, instead, opt for an audio book to enjoy together. This will make the trip seem fast, but still allow everyone to look out the window and really notice where they are. Some of the greatest stories ever written are available in, oftentimes, brilliantly told audiobooks.
Enjoy It Together
Once you arrive, take it all in. Whether you’ll be sleeping at the Four Seasons or in your very own tent, enjoy it together, as a family. This level of focus and togetherness isn’t as easy to come by when immersed in the regular responsibilities and obligations of our normal routine. Take pictures. Slow down. Take detours. Enjoy it.
The trip home can be as enjoying as the trip there. If driving, a different route may lead to new surprises along the way.
Getting home with enough time to completely unpack and get a good night’s sleep is key. This will make the week ahead a breeze.
After your weekend get away, reflect on it often. Look at your pictures and revel in how such a simple jaunt can enrich family life. When you’re ready, begin to plan the next adventure!