Is summer vacation with the family really necessary?
What I really noticed was the kids that get dragged along with their parents that seem to have the worst times. These are the kids in the teenage years. They seem like they are annoyed or still in their little weird phases where they are still unsure of themselves, so they cover up their insecurities with annoyance and attitudes. Now I might be totally wrong with this observation, but I’m generally pretty good when it comes to observing.
Take for example, we were at a diner having lunch. I see this family drive up in of all things, a mini-van! The dad is past his prime with a gut, and his wife has a gut that is past her chest! A pimply face son who must be having nocturnal emissions and a daughter that is discovering her sexuality. The son, I might as well considering him a daughter! He’s got this awkwardness and little bitchy attitude. So bitchy that my own son even notices and makes a comment that the other kid is so girly. The daughter’s face is buried in her phone texting away and when she finally looks up, my son is gawking at her. She gives him a smirk and continues on with her texting.
When they sit, I can hear the son complaining about everything. The daughter is still texting away. The mom sits there looking around and tries to make the best of it (bless her soul). The dad is trying to keep everything together and I can almost feel he wants to reach over the table to strangle everyone! I just look at my wife and think how great I must have it, and of course she sees me admiring her and she smiles back knowing that I must be so glad I’m not that other family over there.
Their food arrives, and I can hear the son have a fit and says “eww, I don’t want to eat that, doesn’t look anything like the picture” The dad barks back “Well, if you don’t eat, I’m not stopping later for food” The sister picks on him, the brother fires back and says to shut her trampy mouth. The mom tries to reason with everyone. The surrounding tables glance over. My own son looks over and chuckles, although I think he was really wanting to check out the daughter more.
And then I finally hear it from their bratty son “Why do we even have to be here! I’d rather be home with my friends!”
Wow! At that point I look at my own son and think if he really wants to be here with us or if he also feels like he gets dragged along too! I think we’ve been fortunate in that we have a kid who doesn’t mind hanging out with his parents. Of course it’s not always like that as I’m sure he would also like to be with his friends for summer break, as he asks us if he can stay home when we go on little local day tripping around the immediate area.
I personally think it’s a good time for the family to spend some isolated time together. Away from the internet and away from known social contacts so it kind of forces us to focus on each other just a little bit more than normal. It may not be the most pleasant of times during parts of the trip, but many years later, I’m sure it must have some positive effect. I think family dynamics isn’t so tight as it was when we were growing up and also when my parents were growing up. I remember seeing images and videos where families would gather together to listen to a radio programming. Now, I commonly see every family member doing their own thing, mine included. Me on the computer, my wife watching her TV programming, and my son hooked up with his video games multitasking by listening to music in one ear and texting every couple of minutes.
So yes, I think families should go on as many family trips as they can. These summer vacations gives us a break to get to know each other again.