Our little family got to enjoy a week at the beach recently! Vacation is so important. Even if you can’t leave home – making the effort to slow down, put the phones and emails away for a bit, and focus on enjoying your family (and eating way too much ice cream and pizza) – is good for the soul.
Today I have something else that’s good for the soul… being kind!
When we were on vacation, we decided in advance that we would share a few acts of kindness with the people and places we encountered along our journey. Because the second greatest command the Lord gave us was to love our neighbor as ourselves. That means that we are called to treat others the way we would want to be treated – even if we are ‘off the clock’.
Here are 5 simple ways you can share kindness while you are on vacation with your family.
Take someone’s photo for them
We stayed along the beach where we would go for walks or bike rides along the beach’s ‘broadwalk’. Every day we saw couples trying to take selfies with the beautiful background or families choosing one member of the family to not be in the photo because they needed someone to snap the shot. We knew the better photo (with everyone included!) could be taken if we offered to do it for them.
Not many people feel comfortable asking a stranger to help them out, so I love being able to offer my help freely. They are welcome to say no, of course, but more than likely, they are so grateful to have an extra hand. This is a free act of kindness that only requires a little attentiveness!
Note – The photo above was taken by a kind stranger! I am forever thankful!
Compliment your server
Chances are, if you are on vacation, you are probably bound to eat out at a restaurant for one (or all) of your meals.
When we were staying at the beach, we had dinner at a pizza place and our server was just wonderful! He was kind, vigilant, and fun. After dinner, we found the restaurant’s manager and made sure to praise his amazing employee! As a former waitress myself I can say that a little compliment can go a long way!
Send a postcard
Most tourist-y, vacation spots have retail stores that sell postcards with photos of the place you are visiting. Emailing, texting and Facebook have robbed us of the simple pleasure of opening our real-life mail boxes and finding a surprise from a thoughtful friend on a trip. Postcards aren’t very expensive, so purchase a few, have the kids pick a recipient, write a brief note, and send it off!
Don’t forget to pack a stamp before your trip, or perhaps you can purchase one at your hotel’s front desk.
Thank the cleaning crew
You know who I love to bless? The people who have really difficult, labor-intensive jobs and who typically get overlooked even though their work is absolutely critical. Do you know who I am talking about? Moms? Garbage men? Teachers? All of the above! But because this post is vacation-focused – the cleaning crews at the hotel/motel/inn where you are staying.
When we are getting ready to check out of a room, I like to leave a note behind on the pillow saying thank you for a lovely stay. You can see how I did this HERE. I also like to make sure we haven’t trashed the room completely. I mean, I have two boys – they do their fair share of making themselves at home wherever we stay, but before we leave I will pile all of our towels in one place and tidy the beds a bit. Anything I can do to make their jobs a little bit easier!
Give your spouse a break
Taking a vacation with kids is not really a vacation. It’s more like a relocation – am I right?? 🙂 When the kids are young, their needs don’t stop just because you have traveled to a beautiful, peaceful place. In fact, in some cases, the kids’ needs might increase! Especially if you have children who love routine and don’t acclimate well to change. Plus, they are staying up late and missing naps, so sometimes vacations are you, as the parent, choosing to be a mountain lake in your spirit even if you are standing in front of one and the baby has had a poop explosion and the toddler is having an overtired meltdown. My point is to show kindness to your spouse in pockets like these.
Offer to watch the kiddos so your husband can go for a run. Take the kids to the beach in the morning so he can sleep in a bit. Then he can return the kindness by watching the kids while you get your nails painted or sit by the pool and read. Or if you don’t desire time away alone, simply remember to be gracious and speak kindly to your spouse. Showing one another grace in all circumstances can help you grow as a team and be refreshed while you travel.
Mother Teresa once said, “Spread love wherever you go.” WHEREVER! So whether you’re hiking the Colorado mountains, or sunbathing on a Hawaiian beach, or RVing across the country, there will be opportunities to spread God’s love and kindness.
And the lasting effects of kindness are so much better than the lasting effects of pizza and ice cream! 😉