Why Our Family Vacations Are Just Us



Those of you who know me know that living my priorities is my lifeblood. I believe Jesus exemplified this in His life. He often talked about living the plans and doing the work God gave Him to do (John 5:30, 36; John 6:38). That is my goal as well. One area I am passionate about doing this is our family vacation and summer plans.

Early on in my mom career I learned to ask the question, “What’s the point?” from learning style expert and author, Cynthia Tobias. What’s the point in the decisions I make for any area of my life?

For the sake of our discussion, we need to answer these questions—

What’s the point of my kids’ summer vacation?

What’s the point of our family vacation?

 First let’s discuss our kids’ upcoming summer vacation. What goals do you have for your kids in their summer vacation? Do you want them to spend most days at an organized activity? Is there one area of interest you’d like to give them the opportunity to explore? Would you like time to reconnect with them and have fun with them?

When the girls were little I guarded our summers. I wanted the girls to have time to play—to just be kids. I also wanted to use this time to teach them life skills that we often crowded out in the school year. We would attempt a sewing project. They learned to do laundry and cook as well. Two of them learned to mow the yard (Kelsey’s allergies made it impossible for her to mow.) I also wanted them to have time together to play as sisters so we didn’t allow friends over constantly.

Secondly, let’s think about, “What is the point of your family vacation?”

Our family vacations were, and still are, a precious time for our family. The main point is to reconnect as a family and make memories. It’s that simple. This priority for our vacations makes several decisions easy. We don’t invite the kids’ friends or other families. Adding other people—no matter how wonderful they are—changes the chemistry of our relationships. We want our family to reconnect and that isn’t possible with others.

Our daughter, Kelsey, married Caleb last December so the two of them joined us on our family vacation. It was a wonderful time of the whole family bonding and really getting to know Caleb as a son and brother.

We also want time for each of us to be refreshed so we don’t fill every day rushing from here to there. We rent a small house (very affordable and near a beach) and eat most meals there. This gives us plenty of hangout time together.

But that’s our family. Your family has different priorities and goals. That’s what makes each family the unique family God made us to be. The important thing is for you to decide your priorities for your summer. It will be here in a blink. The forms for camps and summer activities will be coming soon. If you don’t know your priorities others will decide them.

Take a little time one evening this week and talk over priorities for your family with your spouse and kids. You will give yourself and family a priceless gift of summers well spent.

What would be your ideal summer?

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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