Thursday, April 4, 2013

Travelling Lessons

We spent several days out of town last week, enjoying the perks of nice accommodations and meals since Grady was traveling for business, and enjoying time with my cousin and her (darling!) family. I'm thankful we went last week since the weather was perfect for enjoying the zoo and playing outside, and this week, well not so much. But, for what it's worth, I have thoroughly enjoyed the cold rain of today. After a string of days with constant motion and activity, it's been nice to be home and inside. And like I've said before, my coffee tastes better on rainy days and my bubble bath feels better on cold days.
Why is it that no matter where we are travelling or staying, the main thing my boys are concerned with is finding the hotel pool. The rinky-dink, perfectly rectangle, boring indoor pool. You know the kind. Marriotts, Fairfields, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inns - they're all the same. And they are all priority number one for my boys.

And, why is it that when we travel and spend our days exhausting all energy on sightseeing, my kids hit the pillow and sleep all night long and promptly wake up at 6:30 am? Good grief, they're never up before 7:00 or 7:30 most mornings and that's when they're not in a room that has block-every-ray-of-light blinds.
And, why is it that when we travel my kids lose all manners when it comes to people watching? They ask bold questions about people at the next table over. They point fingers at someone they want me to look at. They ask questions out loud that they know should be whispered at a later time.

And, why is it that sharing a hotel bed is a whole lot of fun, but the minute we get in the car shouts and shoves ensue when someone touches someone else?
We are not a family that travels extensively and we have not globe trotted with kids in tow. But, we have had a fair share of road trips and hotel stays and I am here to say that traveling is one of the best ways to grow as a family and to teach your kids very important and very on-the-fly life lessons.
Often times, travelling demands patience, cooperation, forbearance, and a willingness to oblige another family member for the sake of peace or unity. Whining isn't an option. Complaining cannot be tolerated. Selfishness won't work. The lesson? Our attitudes are our choices and serving others is a great pleasure.

Travelling means different people in different places doing different things. Culture. Traditions. Accents. Cuisine. Colors. Rubbing shoulders with unfamiliar people gives my kids a chance to see the world as much larger than their quiet and safe cul de sac at home. It allows them to see, experience, and learn how to relate to people different from our family and regular group of friends.
Travelling means being flexible and adaptable. What we want and what we prefer isn't always an option. Meal times shuffle. Bed times are different. Routines from the typical ebb and flow of daily life change and we learn to adjust with it. 

Travelling allows your kids to see other parts of God's big world and provides unique opportunities for your kids to observe that God is the same God at home as He is in other places. Kids everywhere need the same things, disobey in the same ways, and play the same kind of games. My kids begin to understand that time and location has nothing to do with the character of God and the truth of His word.
And that's real beauty of life lessons from travelling. Apart from seeing new places, experiencing exciting things, and meeting new people, travelling shows my kids that no matter where they are, they are no too far from God. No matter what they are doing, they are not out of God's view. No matter how uncomfortable they are, God is aware of their need. No matter how much fun they are having, God knows their limits.
Beyond the thrill of books and beyond the thrill of family discussion, travelling has proved to offer the best lessons on the nitty-gritty of life.

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