Monday, April 13, 2009

Show Your Kids the World

My girls and I enjoyed the wonders of Carlsbad Cavern today. It had been 15 years since my last visit and the first visit for my daughters, ages 10, 8 and 6. I enjoyed every moment of watching them take in this place similar to but unlike any other place on earth. Hearing their laughter, gasps, "Wow's", and "Cool's" was well worth the price of admission (which, actually, is a dirt cheap $6 for 1 adult and 3 kids! . . . not counting the $107 for sweatshirts!) and the cost to my out-of-shape and near-middle-aged body.

As I walked through the Cavern today, I thought of all the places my girls have visited. The list of amazing places includes Niagara Falls (my oldest two), the top of the St. Louis Arch (oldest two), the Gulf of Mexico on a fishing boat (my middle daughter), South Padre Island, the Alamo, Six Flags, Palo Duro Canyon, Lubbock (you know I had to thrown that in), Pikes Peak, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, White Sands, Mesa Verde, Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, the Pacific Coast, Disneyland, Coronado Island, the Pro Football Hall of Fame (oldest two), the top of Mt. Scott (you Okies will know), Monument Valley, Telluride (most beautiful town in America), La Plata Canyon, Organ Stop Pizza, the North Pole (okay, the one in Colorado) . . . and the list goes on. My goal, perhaps ambitious, is that by the time my youngest is in college, all three of my daughters will have visited all 50 states and at least a few other countries. My youngest is now 6, and we've got over a third of the states crossed off the list.

I am not able to provide my daughters with a lot of material things, but I strongly believe that one of the blessings I am able to give them is a love for travel and the opportunities to see much of this beautiful land we are blessed to call home. It is a blessing I received from my parents.

Children can learn so much from travel, from leaving home behind and discovering new things, sights, and people. Sadly, I've known some children who never left the confines of their home city during their childhood--their parents never took them anywhere. I don't mean to be harsh, but a family vacation to the amusement park across town isn't much of an excursion. Live a little, at least drive to the next county!

I've heard the excuses about the costs of travel, but it is amazing how affordable (and memorable) a trip can cost with a tent and some cast iron cookware! And, those excuses about the unbearable time spent in a car doesn't fly with me, either. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I find those long stretches on the road some of the most enjoyable times I spend with my girls. When else are we together in such close (and private) confines for as long a period of time? Those times make for great conversation platforms.

Plan a road trip for your family!

3 comments:

Wendy Polisi said...

Jeff, I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post and couldn't agree more! I am one of those kids who (almost) never traveled as a child, other than our annual trip to the beach. (Which was 35 minutes away...) Because of this, I am so committed to showing my boys the world. We have spent the last year developing a business that allows us to work from anywhere and are preparing to take our boys on the road!!! They are little (3 and 4) and I hope to soon have shared many of the places you mentioned with them.

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