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Adventuring as a Family

As you read this, my family and I are in the middle of a huge adventure. We’re in Asia – a new continent for all of us – and are having the time of our lives. So naturally, I’m inclined to encourage you to go on a family adventure right now!

I realize that traveling to another continent isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, or feasible on every family budget. I was invited to speak at a family education conference in Thailand, and thanks to a generous gift from a grandparent, the whole family was able to come.

Whether it’s taking an entire weekend afternoon together to hike or explore a new park, or saving up and planning for a large-scale adventure, here are some thoughts for you to consider:

1. Travel is an integral part of the education of our kids. I’m not just talking about academic education here, of course. I’m talking about intentionally providing for our kids’ development across the board.

“Adventuring” is defined as “to risk; take a chance of; dare.” A few weeks ago, I wrote here about the importance of GRIT for our kids. We want kids who passionately persevere!

In order to do this, they must take chances again and again. I find that the more we adventure together as a family, the more chances our girls must take.

Sometimes it’s just trying something new, like sliding down wet rocks in a creek at a park we’ve never visited.

Other times, it’s trying out a greeting in a new language.

Whatever the risk, my husband and I know that these adventures, big and small, are shaping who our girls are becoming.

2. Family trips, whether to visit cousins in another state or halfway around the world, serve as important markers in the lives of my kids. At the family education conference we just attended, a wonderful teacher led families through a time of creatively retelling the story of a journey we’d been on as a family.

My eight-year-old chose a trip to Michigan that we took nearly two years ago. For our girls, I’ve noticed that our family adventures are the markers of time for them as they retell their own story.

I know that the most important work we do as parents is in the day-to-day routine of life: schoolwork, chores, activities, church, laundry, etc. But my girls don’t mark years by the day-to-day; instead, they mark time by the times we set aside as a family to be together and take some small risks (and grow) together.

3. Travel is deeply refreshing for my husband and I. When my girls were babies, someone told me that vacations were really just “parenting elsewhere.” So true, right?

And to some extent, that’s still true even past the baby years. Every day here I am applying sunscreen and aloe, setting out vitamins, and handling travel logistics.

But the intentional time away from work and everyday life – the siren song of the thing that needs to be cleaned, the bills that must be paid, the meal that should be prepped, the laundry piling up – is so refreshing for us.

Every time we adventure together, I come home glad that we did and more ready to tackle what’s on my plate. Our brains literally need that break, and I feel the difference when I’ve stepped away to allow that to happen!

My hope for you and your family is that you step out into some adventures, big and small, this year!
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