‘Family’ travel?

Take a picture of this – – in your car on the highway; silver SUV from a distant State next to you, two small kids in the back, each with their eyes glued to their own mini TV screen in front of them, parents up front enjoying blissful silence.

Everyday scene, right?  Now ask yourself how far they’ve traveled with the kids watching movies or playing video games, not paying attention to the world passing them by; not seeing the sights or asking, “What’s that big building over there, Dad?”.  How long have they been basically ignoring the natural and man-made scenery all around them?

Back in the ’70s when I went on trips with my parents, they didn’t have the luxury of keeping me sidetracked with games or DVDs.  We had the radio (I’ll talk about that another time).  And we talked.  We talked about the Statue of Liberty each time we saw it in the distance.  I was once told of Boston’s place in the time of the American Revolution as we passed through that fine city.  The discussion of Washington, DC while making our way to Virginia’s Luray Caverns spawned a future trip to the Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.  The list goes on…

Maybe I’m just getting older and being nostalgic.  I’m just happy I didn’t have a DVD player in the backseat.


15 Responses to “‘Family’ travel?”

  1. Nice read brother! I agree completely… this generation is being robbed of a lot due to technology etc. Imagination and creativity are also going out the window. It really is a shame… I remember have those discussions during long car trips, making up games, checking out the sites, enjoying leaves changing etc. It is all a thing of the past!

    Keep up the good work…welcome to the blog-o-sphere!


  2. Cindy Givens Says:

    How refreshing to learn your generation realizes the beauty lost to “Family Travel” due to technology with use of thumbs and fingers. Most enjoyable

  3. I couldn’t agree more. My parents drive a big SUV with dvd player and god knows what else. When we take vacations, it’s usually the whole family together. The kids often ride with Mom and Dad. It took me a couple of trips to catch on before I took all the movies out of the car. They had big headphones on so no other noise or conversations “disturbed” then and their eyes stayed locked to a tv screen for the duration of the drive. I remember every bridge crossing was exciting when I was a kid. Every truck hauling something big or industrial and mysterious in shape was a highlight for my brother. We played games looking for states’ names on license plates. We all sang with the radio. We did pencil puzzles togerther. It sounds ridiculously Norman Rockwell now compared to 4 hours of Pearson watching Lord of the Rings and Abby wired to her iPod. We have so many convenient tricks to keep our kids entertained for us now that it takes more effort to get them disconnected and actually parent. My dad would have probably loved a movie screen to shut us about 6 hours into a trip to Florida and I’d give anything to fling the thing out the window. 🙂

  4. It’s a shame that this even has to be a topic. While video games are fun and can have their place, there is something to be said for family conversation and “taking it all in” during the trip. Maybe we’d all get along better if we all got along with those closest to us in the first place and talked more often.

    It’s a strange notion that technology is making the world a smaller place and yet isolating us from one another at the same time.

    “It’s a far cry from the world we thought we’d inherit.
    It’s a far cry from the way we thought we’d share it.”

    How true, Neil Peart. How true.

  5. Uncle Butsy Says:

    Fantastic quick read and I agree totally.

    My parents took us to Florida (24 hour drive) 30 years ago and I remember the trip and the sites and it was amazing.

    Give me a visual and verbal history lesson any day over a Spiderman DVD

  6. rockychocbill Says:

    We try to strike a balance on our family road trips. We bring along a laptop which also serves as a portable DVD player. The boys are allowed to watch one movie per day (1.5 – 2 hrs) and then we shut it off. Same thing for their MP3 players. Being from north of the 49th parallel we also play the “Find the 50 States” licence plate game when travelling in the USA. That helps keep people looking out the window 🙂 It also helps to do a little pre-planning and have a couple of interesting stops lined up to keep people looking forward to something. Of course the unexpected and bizarre places you tend to find along the way make the most memorable stops. Our road trips have always been a fun time.

  7. I agree it is a shame that more parents today don’t take advantage of the beauty all around them, and educate through experience.

    Sounds like we need a road trip honey…Maybe a quick trip to see the leaves this fall?

    I like the blog…..

  8. Good stuff, looking forward to the reads…

  9. No one is taking away anyone’s right to do what they want within their own families! Each of us, as parents, can decide how much TV, games, or DVD’s our kids get to watch. We get to plan the family dinners and decide how often we eat together. There is really no reason to be concerned about our changing society as though it is robbing anyone of their freedom to do what they think is best.

    Sure, we can debate about how things are changing, but change is inevitable, change is healthy, change is what keeps us growing and learning! Things are never as bad as humans are capable of making them seem – they are only perceptions, and they are personal. Even if you could argue that the family unit has changed, how can anyone possibly prove that it is making things worse? By all means, I’m all ears if anyone cares to actually prove it.

    We all have different worldviews and ideologies. Many kids just adopt the views of their parents, while others adopt their own views. Many people change their views along the way as they come to think differently for a myriad of reasons.

    I think parents who don’t like the things that are changing need to do things the way they want them done within their own families. It really is that simple.

    For those who believe things are getting worse, I would ask, has anything we humans have accomplished improved our lives?

    • Nowhere (neither here nor in the other gentleman’s thread where this conversation started) did I imply that anyone was being robbed of their freedom of choice concerning their families. I do believe, however, that there might be reason for concern if some of these parents are taking the approach of “children should be seen and not heard” a little too seriously, which was the original point of the above blog entry.

      No matter what either of us – or anyone else, for that matter – has to say on the subject, you are correct in the fact that it is up to each set of parents to do things their way. We can only hope that are serving their children well.

      I’m sure I will have other posts here that will stir your passion, jetson. Please check back often.

      • Yes, I didn’t mean to imply that you were saying this! It was a response to the idea that if one thinks things are getting worse, it does not mean that one has to buy into it!

        I have three boys from a previous marriage, and from my current marriage of almost 15 years, we have an eight year old boy. I made mistakes as a father with my older boys, that I am trying to correct (I started trying to correct before my youngest was even born.)

        I am also doing things differently than my own parents, especially my father, precisely because I don;t agree with their choices on raising our family. I guess I can’t blame them, since there really is no owners manual!

        BTW – I was temporarily caught off guard when I realized you were a Rush fan – my all time favorite band. I’ve seen them about a half a dozen times…it never gets old!

      • If you have exposed your kids to the music – and, more importantly, the lyrics – of Rush, then you’re doing a fine job as a parent. 😉

    • rockychocbill Says:

      I agree with much of what you say. I just wanted to reply to the family unit comment you made. In my opinion, the single biggest factor affecting the family unit AND society as a whole, is the increase in single parent households. Men, of all race, who do not take responsibility for their actions, and leave a woman to raise a child(ren) without a father are selfish cowards. Boys AND girls need a responsible father figure in their lives. They need a balance of both the male and female perspective of life in their upbringing. Unfortunately in many parts of the world there is a debilitating cycle of abandonment that seemingly cannot be broken.

      • I agree with you here, Bill. It does play a role.

        I’m sure there’s a future blog that will be found in this space on just this subject.

  10. Amen! Thank you for that… Our family does a little of both when we travel, especially since our traveling trips tend to be very long. I’ve also found that people take their living room habits into the car.

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