1. I asked a notoriously travelly family at my kids’ immersion school how they got away with leaving for most of December and June each year. The dad laughed and said, “We just do it.” A month later when we got parainfluenza, the secretary assured us, “We don’t pay attention to attendance at the elementary level.” Go. BECAUSE YOU’RE ALLOWED TO.
2. Because immersion school is no substitute for immersion.
3. Because they will have to work in a global world.
4. And being bilingual, trilingual, and just plain culturally aware will help.
5. So will being open to new foods at uncomfortable business meetings. Nothing breaks the ice like the new guy that orders octopus.
6. You know that Matt-dancing-around-the-world feeling? You want that for them.
7. At future orientations and retreats, they’ll have the best two truths and a lie.
8. They’ll get better at making friends.
9. They’ll learn to be patient.
10. They’ll learn to ask for what they need.
11. They’ll learn to be adventurous.
12. They’ll remember more than you think.
13. I can’t help but feel a little scared when my kids get attached to things. Travel prevents this and puts the focus on people. The bathing suit I ordered them that didn’t fit, but God forbid we send back. The evolving pile of rocks, Schleich fairies, and year-old Valentines in “the pile of junk.” It’s not as good as experiences.
14. They’ll find out what they really need. Like camping, where you pare down to the bare essentials, a 12-hour-flight produces the same return to humanity at its core.
15. The kids will help *you* meet new friends and be more open to interaction. Not only will they venture out and bring new friends back to the lair, but people will dote on them and you’ll have the chance to start new conversations.
16. You’ll learn things about your kids your didn’t know before.
17. You’ll model awesomeness.
18. You’ll be focusing on “doing” instead of “having.”
19. You’ll be making them smart. We all know that testing and workbooks don’t test some innate genetic magic; they test whether moms already pre-taught kids that stuff. The last time I opened up a Brainquest 4th grade workbook and saw a reading comprehension piece about gila monsters just after our most recent trip to the desert, I nodded. Yep, I nailed that overzealous, make-em-gifted-or-die-trying, ACT-score-improving pre-teaching. Imagine what Florence would do for their next art history paper. You owe it to their next grad student instructor. Consider it a kind of academic paying it forward.
20. You’ll be improving society. Like the grad student in #19, we all like knowledgable neighbors, friends, and students. The ignorant just don’t vote that well.
21. Bucket lists are a lot like learning to set goals.
22. Ego isn’t attractive. Travel helps.
23. Because you won’t remember sitting home with your kids.
24. Because we grow self-esteem by doing hard things.
25. Because our kids get to exercise new responsibilities.
Travel makes you and them into the people you secretly wish it were easier to make them into. It’s not simple. It takes lost luggage and cancelled flights and barf bags. But there’s no better way to build fabulous people.