We just spent a week in the Bahamas. This is our third trip to the islands, and the point is exclusively to relax. The Atlantis Resort is our destination of choice, simply because everything is there. No need for a car or transportation of any kind, and the biggest decision to be made every day is where to eat.
So it’s not a cultural experience, is what I’m saying. It’s not a “learning” trip.
That said, it’s amazing how many things you learn/observe, about yourself and others, even when you’re not trying (maybe especially when you’re not trying).
Here are things I learned/observed, in no particular order:
1. Most people speak to young children in the same tone of voice they use with dogs; especially the parents.
2. Parents almost always seem irritated with their kids, even on vacation. They are forever telling them what or what not to do, and annoyed when the kid doesn’t do it or doesn’t want to do it or questions why they should or should not do it. In this regard it seems the parent would be much happier with a dog who is more easily trained and more obedient.
3. Dolphins shed their skin every 2 hours….for the mathematically impaired among you, that adds up to 12 times a day! No wonder their skin is like silk.
4. Dolphins nurse their young for 4-5 years.
5. Our dolphin handler compared training a dolphin with training a child. “If you want them to do something, give them a reward so that they’ll repeat the behavior!” Loved the dolphins – hated that little speech.
6. My daughter voluntarily, and without telling either me or my husband, decided not to take her computer on the trip. She used my laptop to check her email once, near the end of the week, thus decisively silencing all the critics who have told me that my lack of regulation of “screen time” will forever impair my child’s ability to function without being “plugged in”.
7. At home our kids sleep till 10:30 or 11am. They also stay up till 1am or after. On vacation they voluntarily went to sleep earlier and woke before 9am, ready to go.
8. What I learned from numbers 6 & 7 was that there is really no need to “train” kids to rise at a certain time, go to bed at a certain time, stay away from computers for a certain amount of time, etc. etc. Motivation and interest trump any attempt at coercive training.
Also, when parents are good models, kids make better choices for themselves without anyone telling them to.
See, it’s not our job to train our kids. It’s our job to be a good example for them, to listen to them and treat them as human beings. The rest will take care of itself. (I am not the perfect model – no one is, but I do my best).
9. Jellyfish are really cool to watch (through the glass in an aquarium).
10. Casinos are weird places; people walk in happily expecting to lose all their money… ?!
Finally, I love traveling with my kids. Un-“trained”, unschooled, they are the best travel companions anyone could wish for. Resourceful, patient and unflappable. I take no credit; it’s all them.