I know many of you are thinking of, planning or dreaming of a vacation. No matter what, don’t do your vacations the way we did when I was growing up. Our vacations were more like an endurance test than a time of rest and relaxation. Basically, our family went on vacation whether we enjoyed it or not.
I wish I had kept a diary of those trips. I could have turned it into a best-selling book. But I’m not sure if it would have ended up in the bookstore’s Horror or Humor section.
A Moore vacation always began in the dark, sometime between 3:00 and 4:00—and yes, I mean a.m. We didn’t even get up that early for the Easter sunrise service. My dad thought an early start would give us an extra day, so our vacation started when the sun rose. If we could put in 200 miles before it popped up over the horizon, we were ahead of the game.
The ritual was always the same: drag us kids (still in our pajamas) out of bed, dump our sleepy little bodies into the back seat and ride off through the night like Zorro. Do you know how embarrassing it is to get out of the car and find yourself standing in your pajamas in Colorado, Kansas, or Missouri? I’m glad my parents never took us to Israel. It would have been called the “We Ran Where Jesus Walked Tour.” No doubt we would have beaten the two Marys to the empty tomb.
My parents determined the success of each vacation day by how many miles we drove and how many sights we viewed within each 24-hour period. To this day, I don’t know how we saw the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park and Mount Rushmore all in in the same day, but Mom and Dad considered that a vacation triumph.
Long before Sesame Street hit the airwaves, counting was another essential element of the Moore Family vacations. To this day, I’m an excellent counter. We had to count how many semi-trucks we could get to blow their horns; how many Volkswagens Beetles we saw; or how many bears, elk, snakes or cats we noticed. Any animal you could count was fair game. But I think my brothers cheated. They said they counted three jackalopes, and I only counted two.
I’ve also come to realize that the sins of the father really are passed down to the son. When I was taking my own children on vacation, I found myself acting like my dad. I was the one who woke my family up in the wee hours, stood at the gate of the Magic Kingdom with my wife and two sleepy sons (hey, at least they weren’t wearing their pajamas) and ran from ride to ride so we could finish by noon.
Even though I hold the record for seeing the most tourist sites in the least time, I want to remind you of three things to consider before your next vacation:
Relationships. There’s nothing wrong with taking your family to see some interesting and even educational sites. But don’t forget to take time to interact as a family. Your vacation could end up as some of the best bonding time you and your children ever have. Nine years ago, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with a team that included my son, Jeremiah. I enjoyed the challenge, but the best part of the trip was being with him. We laughed, we loved, we talked about life and we enjoyed each other. Very soon, both my sons and I are taking a road trip, and I can’t wait.
Rest. Even God worked only six days and rested on the seventh. Jesus also gave us an example of pulling away from the crowd to seek rest. Part of your vacation should be about getting rest. More and more of my vacations involve getting away from the world for some down time. I am a person who goes and goes like the Energizer Bunny. But to be a good steward of my life and health, I need time to recharge my body, soul and spirit through rest.
Remember God. Most of the world doesn’t use the word “vacation.” They call it a holiday, a combination of the words “holy” and “day.” As you spend time with your family, don’t forget to talk about the things of God. His glory is reflected in every mountain, every ocean and every sunset. And this is just one way to bring Him into your conversations.
Every year when school started, we had to write an essay called, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.” I don’t think my teachers ever believed I did all those things. But that’s only because they had never taken a Moore family vacation.
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