In every day life, creating and keeping your family bond is more important than ever, but also more elusive.
It's no secret that remaining close to your family has a lot to do with how much time you're able to spend with them. But if you're finding it hard to find that time, you're not alone.
Studies show Americans work 100 hours more per year than even the famously-industrious Japanese. And we work an average three months more than European workers. Couple that with the fact that we are the only country to not mandate paid vacation leave (even the Chinese receive three weeks paid leave by law!) and that the average American only takes three to four vacation days a year…well, it's no surprise that we're feeling a little pinched for quality time with the family.
Working long hours, not taking vacations, spending less time with your family--all this tends to lead to a sense of disconnection with your loved ones.
For parents, the challenge is even more intense. Not only do you need to maintain a solid connection with your spouse (the average time married parents spend alone each day is a paltry seven minutes!) but you must try to stay connected to your ever-evolving children. It's no surprise that kids report having a low-quality relationship with any parent they don't see often. Moms and dads don't need another stumbling block to get in the way of parenting in an already troubling world.
However, there is a solution... TAKE TIME OFF.
Accept your vacation days with open arms. Don't worry about promotions or the meetings you'll miss. Do it for your spouse. Do it for your children. Take a family vacation. Teach your kids by example how important it is to take time to rejuvenate your soul.
Studies show that by age thirteen, a child spends 50% less time with his/her parents than when the child was ten years old. Make your child an exception to this rule.
Of course, being river people, we're partial spending our family vacation time on the river. After all, All-Outdoors got its start when George Armstrong decided a great way to spend time with his five kids was to try his hand at this new thing called "whitewater river rafting." It worked for his family, it can work for yours too.
We've even designated certain dates this summer as "family trips"; only families can book space on these trips so you'll feel that familial spirit pervading your entire trip. We also discounted fares on each trip. Best of all, everyone can find something to love about river rafting. There's the wildlife, the scenery, the adrenaline rush of the rapids, the soothing nature of the calm water sections, the escape from the summer heat, the relaxation of a night spent in camp.
But if you don't choose a rafting trip as your family vacation, just make sure you choose something. Take the time to keep that connection with your family alive and well. Children grow up so quickly and our lives can change in a moment. Things can't ever be the same as they are right now. Take stock of the blessings in your life.
Take a family vacation.