I spent the past weekend at an indoor water park and watched the hundreds and hundreds of people (including me) pick up a tube, walk the stairs, slide down the slide and repeat that process all day. But then I thought, is being contained indoors in a wet sauna with hundreds of other people worth $250+ per night (I didn't pay)? Everyting about the park was designed to make you part with more money -- including walking past the arcade just to get to the pool.
I was thinking about all of the fulltime family blogs I am reading and I don't recall one family spending $250 on anything excepy maybe a weeks stay at a campground. In fact, most of what I see them do (and I want to do) is free -- or close to it. It's getting involved with nature, exploring wildlife, relaxing, reliving our history by visiting actual historical sites, or learning through hands on activities at museums or campround crafts. It's being present and creating something fun rather than paying a lot of money to be entertained.
One of the fulltime families (www.traveltoast.com) posted a video on the commercialization of our kids. I watched what only confirmed what we really all know and just need to think through. We give our kids toys that talk, make sounds or move. We sit our kids in front of DVD players and game systems. We buy our kids stuff in hopes of finding happiness. Simply, we try to buy their happiness and education.
On this same trip, there was an article is USA Today expressing concern about this generation of kids who are essentially being robbed of their childhood. They don't get to create, explore and involve themselves. Theirs is a world dictated by companies that rush them through their early years and into the tween years by age 7.
So, we reaffirm our commitment to minimize as much as possible and provide real learning for our kids to the best of our ability and look forward to joining some families who have found that on the road.
And to the fulltime families already accepting us, pre-travel, and providing valuable advice, thank you! I'm envious that you can clean your entire residence in a half-hour! Perhaps for some, the new phrase should be "Smaller. Leaner. Slower. Enriching."