Currently, we are traveling to Vermont to ski for Spring Break. The work to prepare for a family vacation can be exhausting and overwhelming at points, but I always find it well worth it after we return. When we step outside of our worldview, we can gain a greater appreciation for the gift of our life and enjoy some relaxation.
Here are a few points to consider before you embark on a major adventure!
“Life is an attitude.”
If you are traveling to the beach with the family or heading just to a local getaway… Your attitude is a powerful indicator of the type of memory you are setting! A good attitude is an essential aspect of why we need to expose children to various experiences. Sometimes it goes well- and other moments can be challenging.
No matter how much you plan your getaway, we all encounter “difficult moments.” so… a good attitude beginning with a grateful attitude towards God and His many blessings is the right way to start your vacation. Our attitude is a witness to our family and others. So when we choose to see the good, even in the storms of life, we are serving as a witness, even on vacation.
But most importantly: Remember to: “ Let Go and Let God.”
Bring your faith along!
Include family prayer, such as praying the Rosary, saying grace, and reading the daily readings are a great way to incorporate your faith. I usually bring a small crucifix or image of the Sacred Heart along as well for where we are staying as a “holy reminder.”
We also look up Mass times for Sunday Mass ahead of time to lay out a clear expectation to the family about where we will go to Mass. I have found this is a beautiful way to see local churches and appreciate Catholics everywhere!
I still remember traveling to the Upper Peninsula. Michigan and the local parish offered coffee and an excellent breakfast. It was great to experience their warm hospitality.
Most importantly, If you are on the sunny beaches of Florida or experiencing the cold weather of Colorado, attending Mass is a way for us to get our “spiritual fuel” and recall the source and summit of our faith.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,
for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians,
and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month.
Spiritual Conversations– Remember: share, don’t lecture.
Vacation is a beautiful opportunity to share inspiring stories that you have heard or experienced in your own life. Recent studies have shown that spiritual conversations are often a substantial factor in children remaining Catholic. My children enjoy hearing stories about my childhood or even visiting my grandparents and the extraordinary way they lived out their Catholic faith.
Spiritual conversations don’t need to be controversial and are not political; instead, they are an opportunity to express your faith from your heart. Consider discussing some inspiring modern Saints like St. Theresa of Calcutta, St. Padre Pio, or the influence of St. John Paul II and his call not to be afraid.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Frequently traveling requires compromising such as where you were sitting or who gets their meal first or not so good accommodation or food. Teaching children the value of preserving family peace is all about a life balance that keeps faith in the center. Sometimes we need to provide a “reset” opportunity to remind the family of the gift of where we are going or what we are doing.
Do not allow one person to steal the family’s peace but rather remind the family that we all need to work together as a “team” as you travel.
Traveling can also help us grow and virtue such as patients and humility. Lastly, Don’t forget to offer up your difficult moments to gain new graces, especially during the Lenten Season.
Come to Appreciate the Beauty of God.
Make sure no matter where you go to connect with nature as we read in Daniel 3 the powerful gift of thanking God for all we have been given here on earth. If it is from the ski slopes to the warm beach, thanking God for His wondrous deeds, creation, and the Sacraments are a legacy we want to pass on to our children. Nature such as sunsets and sunrises can elevate our perspective and see the heavenly anywhere.
Daniel 3: 63-65
Sun and moon, bless the Lord;praise and exalt him above all forever.
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.
Every shower and dew, bless the Lord;praise and exalt him above all forever.
All you winds bless the Lord;