By Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman
The holiday season is here. Yes, it is. And that means travel for many of us. You know the line, "Over the river and through the woods…" It's to Grandma's house we go. Or Grandpa's. Or perhaps it's time to see cousins, aunts, uncles, the new baby, and Maryanne's new boyfriend.
You might be traveling for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or some other important holiday you celebrate in your family. You might be going for a week or a weekend. Perhaps you are making a day trip. Whether you are going there or others are coming to your place, it's time to start packing.
No, we're not going to tell you what to pack in your suitcase or car. You already know that. This travel information will focus on how to pack your mind with useful thoughts, assumptions, expectations, and attitudes. If you desire to create a meaningful holiday trip, do not leave what is in your mind to chance. Do deliberate mind-packing before you go.
1. Pack an intention of helpfulness. If you are intending to be helpful, you will create or find ways to help by peeling potatoes, drying the dishes, carrying in firewood, leading the singing, or comforting an upset child.
2. Pack a willingness to listen. Allow people to tell their story. Give them your eyes, attentive body language, your presence, and your time. Do not hijack the conversation and take it in the direction you’d like it to go. Someone this day desires to be listened to. Find them. Be there for them. Connect.
3. Pack humility. Bragging and one-upmanship are no-no’s this trip. Leave them at home. They will be there when you get back. Of course your child did something better and brighter. Yes, the fish you pulled into the boat last summer was larger. This is not the time to share those stories.
4. Pack your walking feet. There may be times when you need to walk out of a room and go to the kitchen or around the block. When politics or religion come up, it might be wiser to clear out than attempt to clear up the issue.
5. Pack tongue band-aids. These come in handy when you frequently feel the desire to bite your tongue. Yes, it is important to confront racial, religious, or sex gender slurs, especially in front of your children. Still, there are milder issues that can be ignored in order to prevent escalation. Bite your tongue and count to ten.
6. Pack an attitude of tolerance. People are different. The only person who needs to live their life the way you want them to live their life is you. Most every family has at least one member that is a bit weird. Accept them for who they are. They might just be sitting there thinking the same thing about you.
7. Pack positive expectations. What you expect is what you unconsciously look for. What you look for is what you see. What you see is what you get. You create your own reality.
8. Pack 100-percent responsibility. You are responsible for creation of your experience. No one can make you happy, sad, or mad. Those are choices you make. Own it, and create the day you desire.
9. Pack your gift glasses, the ones that help you look for the gift. If things do not go exactly as you hoped, there is a gift there for you. Looking through your gift glasses will help you recognize it. Unwrap the gift and be grateful. No one else got that gift. It was designed especially for you.
10. Pack a box full of appreciation. Many people invested hours in preparing meals, picking out gifts, and traveling to get wherever you’ve gathered. Share your appreciation. Be thankful for the time you have and the lessons you learned from this group of people. You may not see them for another year. Appreciate yourself for packing and implementing the strategies listed above.
By packing and implementing these ten important suggestions for your next holiday trip, you will increase the chances that you and your family create a loving, supportive time with friends and relatives. If you choose not to use them or they malfunction, there is one more emergency item to have on your trip.
11. Pack an escape plan. When you or your spouse have had enough, if you get into a situation where you know it is time to go, it is helpful to have a well-developed escape route. One of you will know when enough is enough. Have a signal agreed on ahead of time. "We have a long way to go tonight" is one possibility. When you hear the signal, respond. Begin the process of hugs and good-byes. Better to leave early than to leave too late.
Best wishes for creating your best holiday trip ever.
Chick and Thomas
Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of The Only 3 Discipline Strategies You Will Ever Need. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free Uncommon Parenting blog. To obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their website today: www.uncommon-parenting.com.