“Blessed are the flexible; for though they are often bent out of shape, they shall not be broken.”
Probably won’t find that verse anywhere in the Bible, but it’s good theology. And certainly good advice for any overwrought mom or dad.
These last days of summer have brought me right back to the good old 24/7 moments with my family when we took our 32 country, around the world adventure. As I’ve told you, I have new respect for Dickens’ words in his book The Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” And here’s where I take personal responsibility for “it was the worst of times.”
I can truly admit that there were very few moments in 180 days and nights of our trip that I ever felt it was the worst of times. Sometimes it was difficult, but isn’t it our job as parents to handle ‘difficult’ with one hand tied behind our backs? It takes wise hindsight (I pat myself on the back here) to realize those times that were most difficult were more so because I had lost flexibility.
Flexibility in any family travel adventure is vital! If you see yourself as Captain, imagine yourself first on the Exxon Valdez and realize, some things are simply unavoidable. There were days when I did break. I know that. Ron knows that. My kids know that. But family adventures rarely go according to schedule. So many of the things I remember – we all remember about the trip – are the things that happened when the schedule went haywire.
If I could have planned every step of the way, I would have missed so much. We would have crossed every street in Beijing without being terrorized by motorcycles and traffic. We would have never gotten lost. We would have found our way home ten minutes before we all got tired. The guys would have loved all the food, no matter how strange it seemed, and they would never have argued or had meltdowns. Ever!
But as I look back on the footage of our trip now, I realize how perfect those unscripted moments were. When we checked out our re-runs, we didn’t just notice the one who had a meltdown; we noticed the brother reaching out to comfort the brother who was upset.
When it comes to AWE, Adventure With Engagement, focus upon the ‘engagement’ part. Adventures will get you to your destinations faster, but without engagement, you will miss some of the horsing around, jokes, funny mistakes and other ridiculous dilemmas.
Be blessed. Be flexible. Cut your family some slack. After all, without flexibility, even angels’ wings don’t operate properly!