Hey parents, are you bending over backwards to entertain your family this summer? Here’s a little secret…

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When I was growing up in the UK, my Dad did his best to take his family out for a week’s “holiday” (vacation), every year. One holiday stands out in my memory as being the best family holiday we had.

The little car was packed with five of us (three kids), and with enough luggage to last for months, including bedding, so some of it had to be secured to the roof-rack. We were heading for the beach, about two hundred and fifty miles away, and of course, getting very excited about it.

A hundred miles down the road, the rain began to fall. And it wasn’t just any rain, it was the Atlantic ocean moving inland. Sometimes when the rain starts in Britain you may not see the sun again for days or even weeks.. My Mum groaned and wailed and gnashed her teeth, because not only had she put a lot of hard work into preparing everything and us for the trip to the beach, but she had put the bedding in an old, buckled and porous case on the roof-rack.

Dad, a glass-half-full man, an uplifting, light-hearted sort of man, just tutted and suggested that we all sing a song. He probably told us that the sun would be popping out of the clouds any minute, and as Bob Hope said, “England is the only country where you can get all four seasons in one day”.

I didn’t speak my mind, because I was never that kind of kid (I am now!), but as I looked out of the steamy windows and listened to my Dad singing, I was actually enjoying myself. For the first time in perhaps a year, my whole family was together in one little confined space; one cozy, warm, secure, happy little car. And the rain hardly stopped for a week. But because of the rain, we didn’t get out and go our separate ways: we were together. And my Dad, who was normally at work or at the church, and my Mum, who was normally doing housework or absorbed in another TV soap or sitcom, were with me, in body and in mind.

I was reminded of the holiday in recent times by my son of ten years, telling me how much he enjoys being in our car with his own family when it’s raining.

So the application is obvious isn’t it? If you’re fortunate enough to have a precious family of your own and some kids who will one day not be with you, or maybe a family that you may not at present think is quite so precious, do yourself and them a favor and give them your attention, your time, and your presence.

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