Tips to a fun vacation at home
I love to read the back page of the Globe and Mail, the section with “A life well lived” and the “social issues.” Reading how someone else lived is a bit of a reality check on how well my life is being lived. It forces me to think about what I would want my family to publish after I leave this earth.
I am also reading John Ortberg’s latest book When the Game Is Over It All Goes Back in the Box. Ortberg’s quirky sense of humour makes it a fun read. The main message is that we don’t take anything with us when we die, so live a life growing rich towards God and you will be fulfilled.
The Globe’s latest trend spotted in the social issues section is the “staycation.” This is where farm families stay home for vacations and don’t travel because the price of gas is getting too crazy. I think you could name a lot of farm families who have been part of this social trend for at least a decade. Some families have so much fun farming they never have to leave the farm! Are you kidding? Am I?
One of the key characteristics of strong families is that they celebrate and have fun together. A former dairy farmer told me recently that his new role on his farm without cows still had to have a fun factor.
What are you planning to do in July with your family for fun?
Build a campfire. We will be in our backyard as soon as the fire ban is lifted. Those $1,000 fines are a bit high. But we did take off two nights after seeding to the local provincial park, had a great fire in the fire pit, healthy hikes, and a quiet time without cell phone service. It was fun just to do as little as possible, chat and enjoy the change of scenery.
At May’s end, we shared a campfire with friends who had to re-seed 1,000 acres of canola, so I cooked, and the couple we invited just had to show up. When was the last time you invited someone over for supper or just coffee and dessert? Visiting is fun. Don’t try to imitate Martha Stewart, just be you and offer what you have.
Play games. My son takes great delight in beating me at Scrabble. I bet there is a horseshoe pit that could be resurrected on your ranch, or bocce ball lawn that is ready to roll. The fun factor doesn’t need to cost a lot of money for gas, meals away, and movie tickets. It can be right under your nose, buried in some drawer or nook in the garage that holds game treasures that you’ve forgotten about. You spend hours every week cutting acres of lawn, why not use the lawn for fun?
Hike under the stars. Some of our best marriage times are the moonlit walks down our boring gravel lane. Except it’s not all that boring when we discover porcupines, songbirds, and just the joy of sharing the state of our union. Some people are not comfortable with the quiet of the country. When was the last time you had silence and solitude in your day to renew your spirit? Leave the cell phone at the house. Let your spouse hold your hand as you walk. Learn to appreciate what you already have.
Go with GPS. This Sunday our church picnic will feature its first-ever geo-caching event. It’s like a techie version of orienteering where you use the GPS coordinates to find treasures in a container, and exchange something in the cache for what you have after you have signed the logbook. My hubby suggested we bring the four-wheel drive, but it won’t fit well in the bush with its GPS. Anyway, if you are looking for a fun way to connect to the techie generation, invest in some GPS that adds fun to the family side of the farm, not just the field!
Elaine, I work with my family all week, do I really have to play with them?
Some of my best memories as a kid on the farm involve playing with my siblings and going sledding with my Dad. Maybe it is time for a family council where you all sit down and talk about what fun on the farm looks like to you. Four-wheelers burn gas, but they can be fun machines, too. Kayaks and canoes are popular if you are fortunate to have a lake or flowing river nearby. Mountain bikes get you in shape, and don’t burn gas!
The families I coach remind me that fun needs to be an intentional part of the family business equation.
Why are we all working 80 hour plus weeks and plunking our weary souls into bed without a sense of gratitude or fun? I lose all track of time when I write to you via these Grainews articles. Writing for me is pure fun and a chance to see where my ideas will take me. Start writing your stories down, and then share them as a storyteller to your family, just for fun!
Yesterday a woman in town was bemoaning the fact that her art and creative endeavors would have to wait until the “busyness” of children was done. I told her that I paint in airplanes and lonely hotel rooms to capture the scenery of where my work takes me. Feeding your creative soul is really important. For some farm women that means hours in the flower bed because that beauty they nurture, nourishes their soul and makes their “staycation on the farm” a much brighter place.
When they write about you in the paper, will they say you “sure knew how to have fun”?
Elaine Froese helps families make positive changes in their life on the farm. Elaine and her family farm in Southwestern Manitoba, and pray for rain.