Traveling down the road, speeding past cornfields, mountains or oceans. We gathered memories as we gathered miles.
Memories shared by our family when our kids were young.
No, we didn’t have a lot of money. My husband was a pastor and I was a stay-at-home mom/freelance writer. But trips were a priority to us and we were willing to give up other things to show our kids that God had provided an amazing world for us to enjoy.
The kids enjoyed the trips as much as we did. They had Dad’s full attention and he even let them have soda at every fast food stop. And no, I don’t want to hear how unhealthy soda is. We were on vacation!
We had some great cost-saving methods for traveling. Sometimes we camped and we often did our $5.00 food plan. We would stop at a grocery store and one person would go in and buy lunch for our entire family for $5.00. Surprisingly, these lunches were usually healthy as they often included food such as apples or a head of cauliflower.
We also had the tourist trap rule. We saved our site-seeing for national parks or things that met our standard. (Us, meaning Dad and Mom.) Hence, passing up all the “See the World’s Largest Dinosaur” signs and saving our money for one hugely impressive San Francisco boat ride.
These relaxing, carefree days were opportune times to get into great discussions. I remember riding across Nebraska discussing Paul, Galatians and Gnosticism. I could tell you the exact place in Montana where our then young son asked, “What does God do in heaven all day?” I remember sitting in a parking lot of the grocery store next to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota (waiting for my husband to return with our $5.00 lunch) and working on Hebrews 12:1-2 with our kids.
Sometimes the discussions just happened. Sometimes we made them happen. We walked around Walden Pond and explained Thoreau’s philosophy of humanism, we visited the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City and watched their historical video and listened to a sermon in Paul Revere’s Old North Church.
Instead of attending churches “just like ours,” we would choose a church that was different. (Not every family will want to do this. We actually had an additional reason for visiting these churches. Many of the people in our home church came from different backgrounds and my husband/pastor wanted to understand where they were coming from since both he and I had grown up in solid, Bible-believing churches.) After the service, we would ask our kids to tell us what they thought. Did the pastor take anything out of context? Did our child disagree with anything that was said? What verses would he use to explain his point of view? This enabled us to get into some great discussions with our kids.
Maybe you’re planning a road trip this summer, or maybe a road trip is impossible for some reason. You can still visit places in your area. Make a day of it. Talk about the science museum’s evolutionary bent or visit an Amish village and research what they believe. Challenge your kids to become critical thinkers.
Do a $5.00 (or maybe $10.00 grocery store lunch). Laugh together. Enjoy each other.
Allow your kids to have an extra soda or two and thank God for your family.