Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cruise report #3: excursions

"Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered--how fleeting my life is” –Psalm 39:4

On the third day of the cruise, we made it to our first destination, Jamaica. For the next three days of the cruise, we would dock at ports, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. The time cruising on the ship was an absolute blast, but the excursions only made the trip better. Parenting is also made better when excursions are taken. Constantly be thinking of different, creative alternatives to shake up the family. Kids love surprises and a family “excursion” could be just right for fun in the family.

Excursion #1 is called “fun.” It was in Jamaica and our official guide was named Gregory. He had a great temperament and demeanor with us on the bus. I dreaded the 2 hour drive to our destination, but he made it fun. He told us about the history of Jamaica and the people’s laid-back attitude. Hiking up Dunn’s River Falls was wonderful and we enjoyed the dolphin show, but the memory of this excursion was just fun because Gregory made it fun. It reminds me that the events and trips we set up with our family are meant for fun. But sometimes family times can be grouchy and ugly. The leader sets the tone, so it’s important for the tour guide (mom and dad) to be sure they’re prayed up and psyched up to just have fun. The kids will love it!

Excursion #2 is called “beautiful surprise.” We stopped in Grand Cayman and took a boat ride across the bay to swim with the stingrays and snorkel. Hugging the stingray was cool, but we mostly looked forward to the snorkeling. They gave us our mask, snorkel and fins and we jumped out of the boat. The instant our heads went under the water, we were hooked. It was so beautiful and so alive! The fish, plants, and coral all reflected the beauty of God’s creation. It would have been so easy to miss. Our kids are easy to miss as well. If we don't grab every opportunity as parents, then we fail to put our heads beneath the water to see the surprises that come with loving our kids.

Excursion #3 is called “history.” We visited the Mayan ruins in Cozumel, Mexico. Our guide told us the story of the great Mayan civilization that once existed on this land. They had huge cities, technology and health care. It was an amazing society, but is only a passing story now. It reminded me that things that seem so certain now can easily pass away. Really only two things matter: loving people and loving God. They are the only things that last forever.

The excursions were a blast. We couldn't help but notice that some people just stayed on the boat and didn't take the excursions. Sure, they saved on the expense of the trips, but they also missed some awesome opportunities for fun, surprises and history.

Don't miss the opportunities with your kids. Stick your head under the water and enjoy the beauty. Then, when the journey is over, you won’t look back with any regrets.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

No comments: