Why Wee Travel
It sounds so far away and different. I like different places. I like any places that isn’t here.
Don’t kid yourself into thinking that travel and much needed vacation time is just for adults with full-time jobs and work commutes. Once your kids travel and get bit by the bug, they will most certainly look forward to going somewhere – anywhere that isn’t here too.
Our kids need to unwind. Long gone are the days when children like Opie Taylor hung out at the fishing hole all afternoon and leisurely walked through the town receiving pats on the back and hair tussles until the light post came on. (For those of you too young to place that reference, I am talking about the wholesome Andy Griffith Show) Children today have very hectic schedules.
Toddlers through grade-schoolers are up at least 2 hours before schools starts, dressed and carpooling with a parent which means they are putting in 10 – 12 hour days just like adults. Children are dealing with a microcosm of the adult world. Try seeing it from their perspective. It’s all new to them and still quite challenging and exhausting. That’s why they need nap time!
As evidenced by the progress reports, they have good days and some not-so-good days. They are experiencing one stressing ‘first’ after another. Perhaps there are even demanding after school commitments of sports, social clubs and then homework. You cannot forget the homework and trying not to disappointment a no-so-patient parent while doing homework. Children are routinely getting to bed much later than our generation and notice… there was no mention of family time. Most family time is “it’s a jungle out there, so let’s get a move on” interactions. Vacation and travel are the welcomed time-out that children need.
There is so much to learn. Traveling just opens the door to the world’s classroom. Whether it’s turning trip time into a math problem, learning what the next pitch stop time looks like on their watch (when the big hand gets here and the little hand here, we will stop to get something to eat) or learning about the place and the people who live there, it’s all so new and engaging. The best part is, it doesn’t even feel like ‘learning’; that restrictive information intake that occurs in school.
This education is less formal and relaxed. No pressure. No fear of getting the wrong answer. The teach moment is casual and more ‘in the moment’; it just feels right. Children will feel comfortable asking questions to better understand. As they feel comfortable, their motivation for learning will change – they’ll want to learn! Anything that you want to do, you tend to be better at while doing it. While routines do make life and classroom management easier, it doesn’t take children off the path of conventional learning. Teachers everywhere have lessons plans that are subjected to approval per predetermined learning objectives.
Formal education focuses on the 3 fundamentals : readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic, but they are the components of a mechanical lens to view the world. Depending on where you go, travel will expose children to the diversity of cultures, foods, clothing, music and religion. This education is more of an enlightening ‘experience’ as opposed to a regimented process.
Yes, ‘knowledge‘ is different from ‘education‘. Education is the process of gaining information. Knowledge is the skill; it’s what you do with education. Children educated about culture understand what is. Children with knowledge of culture can empathize to act accordingly and allow for indulgences of something different. This extends far beyond the experience and travels back home. Your children will not exhibit tolerance, but a respect for their friends of varied hues and backgrounds.
The knowledge of culture will even help your children demonstrate a little more appreciation for their own culture and mores. The variation, contrasts and undertones of similarities will help to make things just a little more clear; unifying it all. We are all different, but very much the same. We have the same needs, wants, desires, concerns and devotions to loved ones all the while expressed in a different way.
Family Time! While the adrenaline is running high from excitement and last minute checks, you’re all in it together and there are great things ahead. Depending on how far you wander away from home and how different the environment becomes, all family members will be taken out of their comfort zones. At first, this will be unsettling. The anxiety will heighten and then very quickly begin to subside. The confusion will give way to resourcefulness. The unfamiliarity will become a calming new normal.
What’s next? Where do we go? How do we get there? Family members will willingly surrender their individuality for a family oneness. Everyone who is able will begin to work together trying to read maps, give suggestions, and creatively solve problems. You say, but they’re just kids. The amount of help they will successfully be able to give will depend greatly on their age, but the desire will be there – to be involved.
Depending on your family’s vacation destination, everyone will pull together to stay together and remain safe. There will be rules – different and in addition to the rules back home – that your children will need to understand.
Pick The Place
So, what are you waiting for? Still not convinced that you should start traveling with your children regardless of their age? Perhaps you should try visiting the Parent Forum and read what other parents are saying about traveling with children.