10 Lessons I Learned on My Family Vacation

As you know from my previous blog entry, last Sunday morning I loaded up the whole family and headed to Southern California for my son’s registration/orientation for college, and for a short little family vacation.

It was on this trip that I learned a few shreds of wisdom that I’ll pass on to you.


1. Free hotel breakfasts are often exactly what you would expect for that price. Does anyone actually know what egg supplement is? And how many hours can a piece of sausage really survive in a chafing dish?

2. DVR’s rule! One night, after a fun day at the ocean, our family sat down and clicked on the TV in the hotel. We never watch live TV at home– we always use a DVR so we can forward through commercials. Well, in the hotel we watched about 30 minutes of America’s Got Talent. The show wasn’t bad, but… WOW! Commercials are sooooooooooo lame! How do people watch live TV?

3. There is no such thing as an atheist surfer. Playing in the waves, I was once again amazed at the awesome power of the ocean (and this wasn’t even a storm. These were just normal day to day waves). I went out in the waves at Huntington beach, boogie boarding and body surfing for about 2 hours with my kids. We got literally TOSSED, SLAMMED and DRAGGED by the waves. A couple times I saw one coming in and thought, “I got this!” Then the wave slapped me to the ground and dragged me through the sand like I was a rag doll. Which leads me to lesson number 4…

4. When showering and cleaning up after your ocean experience, you will discover sand in the most bizarre places. Enough said.

5. Family trips catalyst sibling friendships. As Lori and I sat on the side of one of the hotel pools, we watched our three kids actually play together in the pool. With no other friends to hang out with, our three kids leaned on each other, laughing together and playing together. It was really fun to watch as a parent. Sure there were little squabbles throughout the trip, but by enlarge, they really bonded with each other on this trip.

6. Don’t feed your kids a huge nacho platter before a long car ride.

7. Fourteen hours at Disneyland is like running a marathon. I’ve run a couple marathons, and now I’ve spent 14 hours at Disneyland. I’m trying to resolve in my mind which is more tiring. Hmmmmmm…. I’m still thinking!!!

8. ASIMO just points to creation. ASIMO is a robot that Honda is developing- an amazing little robot that can walk up and down stairs, turn, run 4 miles an hour, etc. Pretty cool little multimillion-dollar gadget that they displayed in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. But as we watched the ASIMO demonstration of this “the world’s most advanced humanoid robot,” I just couldn’t help but admire God’s creation. It was such an amazing contrast. Here it is 2011. Humans have had thousands of years to give it a shot and they are pretty excited about this robot that can “walk” and “run.” (Oooooooo, wow!)  But my 100 pound dog would barge in the door and knock that robot on its butt in 2 seconds flat. Give scientist another 10 years and they’ll try to fix that too. The more I watched their demonstration, the more I was impressed with God’s design of us!

9. I’m 41, and Space Mountain is still cool!

10. Vacations are fun, but somehow home always feels better.

Back to work…

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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2 Responses to 10 Lessons I Learned on My Family Vacation

  1. Greg says:

    AMEN to #3! (“There is no such thing as an atheist surfer.”)

    For anyone interested in some awesome insights on “the spirituality of the sea”, I’d highly encourage you to check out the following audio talk and/or article. Both have some pretty cool connections to what I think Jonathan is hinting at.

    Audio talk:


    Thanks, Jonathan! Glad to have you back from vacation. 🙂

  2. Carrie says:

    I’m cracking up at #4…and I agree, Space Mountain still rocks!