Here’s 3 directives I picked up in the course of life that have taught me how to have a relaxed holiday, even when trailing (grand) children
Rule number I
When my kids were growing up, my number one rule in family outings was I’d do anything, provided I’d enjoy it too. That implied I would go to all Disney movies but refused to bide my time watching movies I did not like. I would refuse to take them to MacDonalds but would organize a cookery workshop.
This technique, can also be applied when going on holiday in extended groups. Just say you’ll do anything they like; provided you’ll enjoy it too.
Rule number II
The second rule also grew out of parenting experience. As mother of 4, born closely together, I was constantly on the watch and counting heads at airports, shopping malls and playgrounds. Even more so on beaches where I would resemble a meerkat continuously surveying the beach.
This slightly changed when our family was extended with a dog. (Not so much because the dog was assigned a babysitters task like ‘Nana’ in Peter Pan; for our dog was a French Basset and couldn’t be bothered.)
What I learned on the puppy training course was that one should never chase a dog when it refuses to respond to your call. The dog should be taught to come to you. You should not be obliged to keep an aye on the dog; the dog should keep an eye on you.
I tested this skill once on a group of 8-year-olds I was to supervise during a school trip. I told them: I am not going to count heads all the time; I’m going to expect you keep an eye on me, so I don’t run off”.
To my astonishment this worked. I was a very relaxed volunteering parent that year. The morale of this story is not be made a follower. As in rule I; do not be the one who is trailing the needs of others; instead make sure to create space of your own bidding.
Rule number III.
I won’t advise you to stick your head in the sand for what is going on in the rest of the world while you’re ‘away’ , for that is not a solution. What you can do however, is to unplug yourself from the drama of it. Reality check if there is something you can do; say a prayer or send supportive vibes those who are suffering; but don’t let it get to you in the sense that it rules your day where you are. We tend to get drawn away from of ourselves, where we are and what we are doing by outside circumstances, while we have plenty to care for in our own world; especially during holiday time, when unresolved thoughts and feelings dating back from daily working-life get a chance to catch up on you. So basically what I’m saying is: make sure you have down time for you @ where you are. The world has become a small place with the internet and international news. Make sure though to remember your own plot of life in the moment
These were my 3 cents. I wish you a wonderful summertime and hope to see you in September, when I’ll start up both the ‘Body language of Energy’ and ‘Nan Yar- Who Am I’ groups, combining the flow of energy with the flow of transition.
And just because I’m a proud mom; the silhouette of the girl in the picture is my oldest daughter, one of the ones I watched over like a meerkat, standing upright on the beach. She grew into a lovely young woman
Ingrid Schippers, 26 June 2017
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This blog is featured as spoken end note of the Dutchbuzz edition of June 27 2017, broadcasted on The Hague FM from 10.00 tot 11.00 pm. It can also be listened to through the Dutchbuzz podcast of June 27 2017