May 2-10, 2015 is National Travel and Tourism Week in the USA (#NTTW2015) and today I want to pay a tribute to my grandparents and to every grandparent who goes the extra mile to travel with their grandkids.
It is not often seen today, and I feel that so many families are missing out on the special bond and the opportunity to teach life lessons to the next generation.
5 Life Lessons I Learned While Traveling with Grandparents
My extended family all through my growing up years seemed to be pocketed either in the SouthEast or the NorthEast. My grandparents drove back and forth between the two camps a couple of times each year visiting their children and grandchildren and often taking one or more of us with them to have cousin time.
Those trips, the conversations, the singing in the car, the special stops for ice cream because “We need to stretch our legs” all taught me much about life and relationships.
Aside from the fact that my Grandpa knew the locations of the best restaurants in every town we went through, I learned
1. That people are more important than things. There were things they sacrificed to have the money to travel to see the people they loved. It didn't matter, wasn't even talked about.
2. That singing makes the long nights shorter.
3. That no trip is too long when family needs you.
My other set of grandparents were serious campers. They were part of a camping club and even traveled to camping conventions, often taking one or more of us grandkids along. Oh, how I loved that bunk over the driver's seat in their little motorhome!
Through countless hours with Grandma making swaps (handmade pins to trade with other campers) and swapping them I learned
4. That it is important to spend time with people you love learning to enjoy what they enjoy.
Through tricks and games with my Grandpa, I learned
5. That it is important to learn to be light hearted and to be able to laugh at myself.
My grandparents may not have been consciously trying to teach me those lessons. Those exact words may have never even been part of conversations, but they lived these things. Traveling with them as a child, in rain and sunshine, had a huge impact on me and imparted to me life lessons that I hope I will be able to teach my children and grandchildren as well.
If you are a grandparent who travels with your grands regularly, I applaud you! Don't loose patience with them. Keep loving them and pulling them along on your trips. They need you to teach them more life lessons.
If you are not traveling with your grands, (and maybe you cannot for physical or other reasons) I would challenge to be on-purpose with every interaction you have with them. Your influence over their lives and the values and beliefs they are forming about the world and about themselves is huge! Even as an adult, my heart melts all to pieces every time I hear my grandparents say “I am so proud of you!”
If you are a parent whose parents do travel with your family, or with your children, I encourage you to keep doing it! And thank them for doing it! The bonds created during travel and the multi-generational memories will far outlast the souvenirs! These are special times. Do all you can to make it happen as often as possible.
If you are a parent whose parents do not travel with your family, is there something you could do to encourage it? If your parents have removed themselves relationally or perhaps are deceased, is there another older couple your children look up to, who might want to adventure with you? Are there stories you can tell of your own childhood travels that will pass on those life lessons learned?
Travel is about much more than just getting from point A to point B. It's about life and relationships. And those life lessons are SO worth the price of travel.
What about you? Do you have a life lesson learned while traveling with grandparents? Please share it with us in the comments!