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Summer time is a great chance to build the Assets of Family Communication and Support with a little something called the family vacation. After I write that sentence, in the back of my mind I hear, dun, dun, dun.
The family vacation, no matter how monotonous, can be memories that last a life time. If they do, as adults, we should try to make them as good as possible.
Now for those of you who don’t know me very well, I’m as cheap as the day is long, so I certainly don’t mean a trip where we indulge in every purchase the dears would enjoy.
I mean making it a trip they don’t spend crying, rolling their eyes at you or wishing they were home after you just spent all that money.
I think, or I should say, I hope that we all have at least one fond memory. Again, by fond, I don’t necessarily mean one that would need to be recreated.
A family trip for us always involved a car. Now, boys and girls, at one time we didn’t even have seat belts in cars, could fold down seats and even lay in the back of the car.
One of the trips I recall the most is when we were driving north from Florida. We didn’t have audio books, portable DVD players and there were no dollar menus at fast food restaurants.
Okay, truthfully hamburgers were probably somewhere between 15 and 49 cents, but it didn’t matter, we didn’t stop at those places.
A trip involved pulling off on the side of the road, breaking out the Tupperware bowls, boxes of cereal and opening the cooler for the gallon of milk and eating right on the side of the road. It also included hundreds and hundreds of lovebugs. Nope, not the Volkswagen kind, but tiny little black bugs that fly all over the place.
There was no fussing about it, you just dealt with it. Lunch was pulling out a loaf of bread, jar of peanut butter and jar of jelly in those days, not in a squeeze bottle. You did it because that’s the way it was done.
While you may not be in the same position today, think about the opportunity to create similar memories for everyone.
We just returned from our annual, okay, every five-year, vacation, which I hope to write about in the future. What I realized this year was that you have to let kids know what to expect. We went to the new Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios. We told our kids that the weather would be beyond hot, the lines would be ridiculously long and it would be fun if everybody extended some extra patience and understood from the start that it is just the way it is.
We saw parents screaming at kids, saying stupid things and treating kids like they were hashing it out on a playground. Now, I’m not saying there were times that tempers flared, that a certain amount of waiting was asking too much of anyone, or as one of my children put it, “I feel like we’re laying under a wet towel.”
The time spent was great and never once did I have to utter something stupid because of their behavior, which I attribute to a hotel pool being open until 11 p.m., bless them.
However, in the back of my mind, I did recall those family car trips where my mom would only needed to say, “Don’t make me take off my shoe.” The rest I’ll leave to your imagination.
Bernadette Lauritzen is the Assets Coordinator for Los Alamos. Assets In Action is sponsored by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce. Students in fourth through eighth grade can join Assets In Action at the Youth Activity Centers on Monday for more Agua Adventures.