A Trip With Kids

Are you looking at hours in the car with your kids? Are you looking forward to the time together?

Long road trips with one or more children can be anything from great to difficult. Planning ahead can tilt the needle in the right direction, though, and set you up for success.

Pack snacks. Airlines know this: keep people fed on a long flight, and they will be more content to sit and wait until arrival.

Keep some snacks light and crunchy to add texture and interest, but keep variety in mind too. Individual portions will make the fun last longer. And, of course, remember that messy, gooey, or sticky will make it harder to clean-up.

Pack activities. Electronics will only get you so far. Multiple movies will eventually get boring, even though the time passes quickly that way at first.

  • Toys that are contained work well. Older kids can handle more pieces, but even babies can play with several items on a strip.
  • Children that can read and write can also enjoy games like I Spy or Find the Alphabet. You can even make up your own, like who can find certain trucks or animals or whatnot first or most. Be creative.
  • Activity books can also be a welcome relief. You don’t need a box of 64 crayons — a few will do.
  • Get a special set of toys or books that you introduce on this road trip. Novelty is a big draw.

Plan for breaks. Know that little legs need to stretch. Plan on taking longer than if you were driving alone and in a hurry. Keep an eye out for stops that have room to run or something to see, to make the most of the time off the road.

Know what you have. Make a list of potential activities and the supplies you packed. When it’s time to move to a new activity, you won’t have to remember the possibilities. You can just pick one off the list.

Finally, remember that you set the tone of the trip. Your attitude is contagious.

Life Full of Limits

There are so many options, so many good options, for what we could do each day. Sometimes that is exciting, but often it seems more of a problem.

Recently we were enjoying time with friends and the conversation turned to highlight the possibilities open to one couple and those waiting for the other. One family has four young children, and a priority for this season is raising them well. The other has an empty nest and the ability at this time to see the world and the amazing things it holds. Both of us appreciate the treasure each other has, but also we know that we can’t have both at the same time.

That is real life. We can’t have everything. We can’t do everything. We are finite creatures.

There may be five great things you could do today, but you know you only have time and energy for two or three of them. You may want to start your own business next year, but that means you can’t fully invest in mentoring a young associate at your current company. You may be able to join the team of a new church plant in your neighborhood or take advantage of a year sabbatical to travel the world. Drama practice and soccer practice schedules overlap almost completely. The next two hours could be for running errands or for deep cleaning the pantry.

So we have a choice, both in life and each day.

We can ignore the limits, try to grasp it all, fail in frustration, foster discontentment, and focus on what isn’t. We can keep trying to do everything poorly and nothing well. We can mourn all the missed opportunities, constantly, as they continue coming. We can regret taking the path we did. We can feel like a failure as we focus on the path we didn’t take. We can feed a resentful, coveting, jealous, discontent attitude and pour all our energy on that flame.

OR

We can be thankful for the gift of the life God has already given us, in all the big and small situations and choices. We can trust the wisdom and love of our Father. We can appreciate the options we have now, pray for wisdom, pick one, and live in it today as an act of worship. We can live a limited life in a limited world while turning our eyes to an infinite God of power greater than we can imagine.