Summer affords great opportunities and great challenges for the Christian family. Children are home from school and their schedules have changed. Parents may struggle to find a balance between work and family time. Psalm 133:1 says that it is a good and pleasant thing when families live together in unity. Finding unity in the family can be a summer challenge and gift, especially for the family’s summer vacation. One idea is to create a faith-based vacation.
Traveling with children on summer vacation has its own set of rules. Often children have ideas that may not reflect the decisions of their parents and vice versa. If children are of an age to assist in the plans, enlisting them can prove enlightening. It can also reveal personality conflicts. We do want to keep the summer break a positive refreshment and not a breakdown of the family unit. Planning together in a safe, non-threatening environment could be a good start. Perhaps start with a suggestion box of places to go and activities to do. When there are enough ideas submitted, choose a park or ice cream parlor or another neutral place to begin talking through the ideas. Someone can take notes, and everyone agrees to consider all submissions without criticism. Once the top destinations are agreed upon, the nitty gritty of planning can begin.
Parents have the responsibility for the family budget. Surprisingly, due to the rising cost of gas, food, and hotels, Americans are still expected to surpass the $200 billion mark and reach $214 billion on summer vacations this year. That figure is 10% higher than last summer and 111% higher than in 2019 before the pandemic.[i] Summer vacation is more popular than ever.
Budgeting for the trip may begin a year or two in advance for some families, making it a devoted part of the budget and family lifestyle. Many are having family reunions to connect with those whom they have not seen since before the shutdown. Cruises, all-inclusive resorts, and theme parks are some top destinations for these reunions.[ii]
What are some faith-based vacation ideas for the Christian family? Just 40 minutes apart from each other are the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. The Ark Encounter is a full-size Ark built to the specifications written in the Bible. There are zip lines, playgrounds, a zoo, and much more. The Creation Museum houses 100 exhibits, animals, activities, gardens, and more. Both are a child’s paradise and bring the Bible to life. The Museum of the Bible in DC contains artifacts that are 3,500 years old. Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens in Tennessee walks visitors through the life of Jesus as told through life-size figures.[iii] And don’t discount numerous chapels and churches throughout the country that are open for tourists.
Consider faith-based “stay cays” as well. Look for movies that are either faith-based or have sound moral content. Create your own miniature golf in the house or shut the whole family in one room and pretend it is a hotel room. Play games, sing songs, and roast hotdogs and marshmallows in the fireplace. Read Bible stories together and don bed sheets as costumes. The possibilities are endless when you start with unity and love.
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