Take vacations for THEM not YOU

When I was in my younger adult years, I didn’t like going on vacation. Maybe it was because we didn’t go on a bunch every year when I was growing up. Or maybe it was just because I wanted to impress my bosses so much that I didn’t go on many myself. Even when I had young kids I would feel the pressure of this or that at work that I just “couldn’t” go on a full vacation with my family. They went, I just met them a few days later.

Looking back on this, I literally just cringe. Especially now as I’ve been taking regular vacations every year, I can’t believe I was so foolish to have missed these opportunities to get away, relax and be with my family. But more importantly, I cringe because of what I modeled to my family when I wouldn’t do regular vacations.

Work is hard and demanding, no doubt about it. But when we don’t take regular vacations with our families, here is what we model: work is more important than family. And, in the church world, this is extremely harmful because children can grow up feeling that God stole their dad or mom away from them. God wouldn’t let my dad go on vacation with me. God must not love me enough.

Sure, these may be extreme examples, but it is possible. That is why it is so important to get away and be with your family every year. See, vacations are NOT about you. They are about your family and what you model to them. By taking vacations you are modeling:

vacations
On our most recent vacation, we went to NYC for a few days. We saw a Yankee game which was one of the highlights.
  • That you want to spend “focused” time with them. When we are home you spend time with them, but when you go on vacation you are separated from work and you can focus on them and who they are. They are your priority throughout the vacation.
  • That your family IS important. Children and spouses know that you work a lot. You have to in order to provide for the family. But, it can get to a point where if you don’t take any time away to be with your family, they might begin to think that work is the most important thing in your life, not them.
  • How they can raise their own family. I didn’t think vacations were that important because we didn’t do many when I was growing up. So what you choose to do with your family models to your children how they should raise their family.
  • That you can fun. This happens at home as well, but being disconnected and spending the whole day with the family, having fun together and celebrating together goes a long way to your children seeing a different side of you. You create memories that last a lifetime.

I know I said earlier we didn’t go on a lot of vacations when I was younger but the times we did, oh boy do I remember those. We had a wonderful time as a family and they will leave me with lasting memories, which I hope my own family will have as they get older.

Vacations are about your family. And, it is very important that you take them regularly. Use all your vacation time and don’t feel guilty about it. It took some hard knocks for me to realize just how important they are but ever since I’ve been doing them regularly with my family, I have NEVER regretted it.

The reality is work places will come and go. The days of you working the same job for the same company 35-40 years are essentially over. But your family is with you for your entire life. What you model to them is what your legacy will be, not what job you worked. If you haven’t planned a good vacation away with your family yet, do so now. Don’t waste a great opportunity to model something great to your family.

What do you think? What has been your experience going on vacations and what it does for your family? Share them and your experiences below or on social media use my twitter handle @tapounder when you share. 

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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