Last week I wrote about the 7 Steps to Your BEST Vacation Ever!
If you follow the steps, you are getting ready to have one of the best vacations in recent memory…but…what happens if you are able to turn those steps into reality, but your kids are still texting, tweeting, chatting, messaging and posting?
This is one challenge that parents and kids both share; our time on social media distracting us from our family, both at home, and also on vacation. We all wrestle with this. It’s a tough situation when any family is trying to be together, but their minds and attention are elsewhere.
We were at a beautiful vacation spot and I remember looking across at my family in their chairs and noticed them all with their attention focused on their cell phones. This beauty was right in front of us and they were missing it all. “What a shame,” I thought. What is a beautiful moment without being able to share it with those you love?
Please don’t get me wrong. My kids are pretty good (and getting better) about using their cell phones when we’re together or with our family. But that moment is a vivid reminder to ruthlessly protect our time and attention when we’re together. So how do we do it?
A NEW PLAN
This question is nothing new. Trying to keep our thoughts and actions focused on what’s important and right in front of us has been a challenge for centuries. So often our minds and thoughts are captivated by good desires, not God desires. But Isaiah gives us some clear thinking that applies all the time in all areas of our lives.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
How can it be that even thousands of years ago, without cell phones and social media, focus on God and His desires was still a challenge? Today with all of the added distractions around us, it has become even more difficult.
Here is a summary of the 7 Steps to Your Best Vacation Ever, and the new KIDS edition of the same list. I hope this might help your family follow your parental lead and capture a few more special moments during this year’s vacation, and maybe even spill over a little to everyday living.
7 Steps to Your BEST Vacation Ever
- Pray for your time away
- Build your emergency response team
- Silence is golden
- Set phone limits, own your vacation life
- Plan to play, plan to rest
- Expect delays and embrace them
- Pray and have faith that God will take care of you and your work
7 Steps to Yours and Your KIDS Best Vacation Ever
- Pray and share what you want – Turning off the outside world and turning on family may not come as easy as you might hope it would. Pray for your peaceful vacation, your focused kids, Godly family moments, and your desire to be more present as a family. Be bold, gentle and humble as you share your desires for more family presence and unity on this year’s vacation.
- To be well is to prepare well – Take some time to share with your family the preparation that is required for you to leave your job/position so you can do your best to be “present” on vacation. This is not to make them feel burdened or pressured, but to make them feel valued and loved from your planning and preparing for the family.
- Set some “phone free” zones – Cell phones and their related apps can be a distraction at the exact wrong times. It is a good idea to set some boundaries for cell phone use and social media. Some of the obvious options may be mealtime, game time, movie time, and an hour before bedtime. This creates needed parameters when family focus and harmony are specifically desired.
- Set some “free phone” zones – On the other hand, there are some very powerful tools and uses for cell phones and social media. Create some time where you can utilize the tools you have with use of phones to connect with friends, share pictures, play a game, or help Mom or Dad research restaurants and activities for the family. Travel and vacation time can certainly include some family fun phone time.
- Practice what you preach – If you want your kids to be present, then set a good example as parents. Let them “catch you” using your equipment the way you want them to use theirs. Kids sometimes learn from what you say, but they always learn from what they see.
- Get a digital camera – Consider buying, or borrowing, a compact digital camera to use on vacation rather than using your cell phones for pictures. I may use my phone to take a picture, but then I’m distracted by the editing and process to create the perfect picture, rather than focusing on the moment at hand. If you use the digital camera instead of a cell phone, you can store them up and then download and edit them later as a family. You might even want start a ‘best of” folder that you could use for a vacation memory book!
- Time with you is time “to do” – The best secret of all is to use your time together to get out of your respective ruts and fix your thoughts on your family. Do what they want to do, what makes them Give your kids and your family your thoughts, your plans, your attention and your best.
There is much around us to keep our eyes and minds anywhere but on Jesus and our families. Click To TweetThis is especially true with us and our kids. Especially when we consider the pressures that press in upon us at all ages and the distractions we each take with us wherever we go. All of these may not apply to you. But, how cool would it be to put a few of these KIDS “steps” into action and capture a little more family harmony and maybe even a few more family moments?
I pray this can help a little on vacation this year, and maybe in life, too – that we could keep our focus on each other with Jesus in the center. And in doing so, we would capture more time together, time with Him, time in awe, time in focus, time in thought, time in fun, and time as one.
Do you need a little reading material on your vacation? Download the first chapter of my new book here!