We can all be grateful for the opportunity to explore new territory. Here are five reminders of why venturing near or far with our family truly matters.
1. You'll see the world through the eyes of a child.
Set out with a small person and you can't help but slow down, to see things differently. You'll share their delight in all things bright, colorful and on the move. You'll notice the ladybug on the leaf, footprints in the sand and the helicopter whirring overhead. You'll discover new shapes and textures and marvel at the fragrance of flowers. (Because little people will.) Chances are their sweet smiles will be conversation starters and you'll share (most likely from a distance) stories and experiences with other parents and grandparents. No matter where you wander, you'll be creating memories that will last long after the strollers are stowed and the price of their participation matches yours.
2. You'll learn something new.
Why not use your next getaway to learn a new sport or explore a new hobby? Will you strap on skis for the first time, climb into the saddle, ramble along a new trail or make your way to the pickle ball court? Tap into the early interest your child may be showing for art, music or history by visiting historic parks and monuments, opting for an outdoor music event or stopping to read and discuss historic markers during a road trip.
Who knows? While in the midst of it you may learn about new apps, some up-to-date lingo or the latest fashion trends from your young traveling companions.
3. Your stress levels will lower.
There is plenty of research indicating that a change of scenery and a break from life's daily demands will put a smile on your face. And during an era when many are working and schooling at home, a new view may be more important than ever. Whether you breathe deeper, exercise more or simply stop to smell the flowers, chances are you'll feel renewed and have a more relaxed connection with family members after time away. Opt for beach time, a backcountry adventure, an off the beaten path destination, or a paddle through new waters, and your whole crew will return home recharged and ready to tackle the challenges of daily family life.
4. You'll model what matters.
As you circle back after a wrong turn, strap on your mask to pick up a carry-out meal or process the news that your intended destination is unexpectedly closed, you'll be modeling how best to handle life's small challenges. They'll be watching how you respond to delays and disappointments. They will observe how you treat those who might check you into a hotel from behind a plastic partition or the person who takes your temperature before entering a public place. When you next decide to travel, you'll have the opportunity to encourage understanding, compassion and kindness in the next generation of travelers. And when the time is right to plan your family's trip, you'll be communicating that exploring with your tribe is a top priority.
5. You'll broaden your perspectives.
Whether you travel to the next county or around the world, moving out of your comfort zone or everyday routine will enhance your family's understanding of our world. There is so much to see and learn wherever we choose to wander. This is the perfect time to tread softly, take it slow and observe more. And while for now, it may need to be from a distance, a friendly smile and a wave is still valuable currency in nearly every corner of the world.
(c)2020 Lynn O'Rourke Hayes
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