We took our van on a road trip to Dallas this week. Traveling isn’t unusual for us but being in the small confines of a Honda Odyssey proved to be a bit challenging at first. Since we always travel in our home, our RV, we aren’t used to sitting in three rows and having our backs to each other for so long. Our kids were behaving terribly. Until I broke the invisible taxi cab partition.
The oldest two were fighting over the middle seat in the back row. Our youngest was sick of his car seat thirty minutes in to the ride. Then, our four year old was “starving and going to die.” (I won’t mention that she didn’t eat a bite of her breakfast before we left.) After only an hour and a half of our eight hour trip I was yelling at them to hush and reminding them of how dangerous it was to distract me or mommy while we drive. We were ALL acting like annoying little children.
We finally stopped for a potty break and gas fill up and I shuffled the deck. I put our oldest in the front seat. The four year old in the back with her sister and I sat in the middle bucket seat next to our two year old. It was like light shined down from heaven. Kids were smiling. Snacks were being passed around and thank yous could even be heard.
It’s incredible what happened when I put myself in my kid’s world. On van trips we tend to imagine this separation between us and the kids. We try to have adult conversations and keep getting interrupted. I try to answer emails or write and can’t think because of the bickering. It is awful. The answer was to stop trying to be so separate. I think that is the answer to so many issues as parents.
Next time you’re sick of the distraction of your kids, try to get in to their world instead of removing them from yours. We have seen in our adventures of raising four kids (so far) that so many problems are solved by MORE TIME with mom and/or dad not less. Don’t be a cab driver. Your kids aren’t “passengers.” Get involved.
Author: Michael Prince
Michael Prince co-authored “What’s in Your Pocket? A parent’s guide to protecting your children online.” with his wife Melinda. They have four kids and live in an RV anywhere in the USA they see the need for an internet safety expert. Michael is leading the conversation in the American Church about family online security. He and Melinda founded BecauseFamily, a ministry that exists to inspire and equip parents to be the first influence in the lives of their children, in 2013. Michael is also a geek and loves Star Wars, Doctor Who, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and strategy board games.