7 Tips For Memorable Vacations

by Jason on July 27, 2009

A while back, I read these tips from CJ Mahaney in a bulletin insert at my church.  I thought it was a thought-provoking and challenging message to dads regarding a slightly different view of vacations then one might think and one that I honestly haven’t considered before.  After all, it’s a vacation and I like to rest too.  CJ challenges us to view a vacation as a way to serve our families.  I wanted to pass this along in its entirety because I think it’s a great message to hear since we are in the middle of vacation season and the fight against selfishness is always present.


“The difference between forgettable vacations and unforgettable vacations is not the location or attractions.  Nope.  The difference is the father’s attitude and leadership.  To succeed, a father must be diligent to serve and lead.  As you plan your summer vacation, I thought it might be helpful if I passed along some lessons I’ve learned over the years.  My hope is that your family will enjoy a God-glorifying, grace-filled, relationship-building, memory-making time together.  So enjoy your vacations and you can rest when you get home.

1. A Servant’s Heart

Are you ever really on vacation? Now is your opportunity to serve.  This isn’t your time to rest.  Husbands may actually need to work harder – in some ways – than they do during their normal work.  But this kind of work is a pure joy.

2. A Tone-Setting Attitude

Children may be temporarily distracted by the venue, but ultimately their memory will be associated with your joy, gratefulness, generosity, and service, or with your irritation, frustration, and anger.  Dad, no one should be happier on vacation than you are.  Your children should repeatedly observe you smiling and laughing, and throughout the vacation they should be the objects of your affection and appreciation.

3. Awareness of Indwelling sin

Don’t forget about indwelling sin.  Anticipate how and where you will be tempted, and prepare now.

4. Studying Your Family

I love doing stuff! Though it has been a number of years, I vividly remember on particular vacation when my wife wisely asked if it would be possible to rest at some point during the vacation.  Though I was perplexed why anyone would want to rest on vacation, I listened.  Meet with your family prior to vacation and find out what they would like to do.  You may not do all you want to do, but you will be serving your family.

5. Skillful Surprises

Create a tradition of surprising your family.  I love to surprise my family, and I want surprises to be a part of the family vacation.  Study each member of your family to discover what a meaningful and memorable surprise would involve.  A well-planned surprise communicated your deep affection for them – the memories will be treasured.

6. Intentionally Together

Family vacations are family vacations!  They should center on deepening relationships, conversing, laughing, and encouraging each other.  Prepare your children for a family vacation, and adjust expectations accordingly.  This protects the vacation from merely becoming a pretext for selfishly pursuing personal preferences.

7. Gratefulness to God

Vacations are a gift from God.  Help your family see God’s kindness and generosity each day.  Dad, it is your privilege and responsibility to model gratefulness during vacations.  ”

CJ Mahaney is president of Sovereign Grace Ministries and has nearly 30 years experience as a senior pastor.  CJ serves on the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. For more information on CJ and his ministry, please visit Sovereign Grace Minsistries.

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