I guess you can say that I was born with it. At just four months old, my parents took me to a beachfront vacation rental and my wanderlust gene kicked in. As I ventured out onto my own, that wanderlust expanded to destinations around the globe. Wherever I went, I knew...
Summer Lake Vacations
Summers in Wisconsin are magical. Just ask any kid who’s grown up here or any adult who vacationed on a lake in Wisconsin in their youth. After a long dormant winter, everything becomes alive. From the paper birch trees to the hearty red pines, prairie warblers singing joyously and butterflies flitting across flower-strewn fields, there is an innocuous innocence teaming with the possibility of what the next day might bring.
You may remember the smell of boating fuel and the pattern that it makes on the shimmering surface of an aqua lake. Reimagine sitting at a weathered picnic table adorned with cigarette and ketchup stains, grains flanked by hand carved initials inside of rudimentary hearts. You may have even carved out those hearts yourself in the rapture of burgeoning summer love.
It’s easy to recall the simple tantalizing smell of hot dogs being roasted on a charcoal grill. Or the feeling of hot butter dripping down your chin from a salty piece of corn before your Aunt Veera handed you a napkin. You probably recall the campfires, the smores, the daring and boldness. In those days you relinquished breathing in freedom before school and the impending daily routine was inevitably due to set back in.
That, of course, was when you actually got a break from the city or the people you knew back home. It was before the days of SnapChat and Chipotle. More importantly, it was before every teen and pre-teen wanted to stay at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman because the celebrity they follow on Instagram did.
So, How Do You Compete With a Kylie Jenner Style Vacation?
The answer is simple. You don’t.
Kids haven’t changed as much as we may sometimes think. I have this crazy theory that they use their phones when they want to be distracted, not when they actually are. Are your kids in sports? Do they willingly leave their phones on the sidelines because they are truly engaged? Do they then leave the field and go on House Party or a gaming system? Can you really blame them? Just like us, they crave a healthy sense of community and today, whether we like it or not, that’s the form that it takes.
So, let’s get to the point. Does your teen really believe that everything worthwhile happens on their phones? Of course not. Given the option of tubing or wakeboarding behind a boat or sitting in the shade on their phone, most teens would pick the former. The magic and the innocence of summer that we felt as teens aren’t gone. In fact, bonfires, boat rides, and picnics are just as Instagram worthy as they ever were.
As parents who were able to experience this summertime freedom, it’s high time that we draw a line in the sand. Instead of talking about what we experienced as kids, it’s time that we both show them and allow some room for our teens to roam and explore. Let them decide for themselves. A Wisconsin summer lake vacation may just be the next retro trend they are posting about.