We have just had three days away as a family on holiday. It struck me while I was away that you get to a point in life when you feel like you know what you are doing: going to work, catching a bus, going out for dinner, buying a train ticket, going on holiday. Having children is like learning to live your life all over again. As a parent, I have learned how to do the most basic things in different ways. I don’t just mean learning new things (like how to change a nappy) but all the old things: shopping in a supermarket; driving a car; spending a Saturday morning; going on holiday.
We are still learning on the going on holiday thing. I used to use the Kolb cycle in training. Kolb stated that for real learning to take place, we have to go through four steps: action, reflection, evaluation and planning, experimentation. Easy to say, hard to do in real life. How does that help me think through family holidays? Here’s what we did: we went away for three days to a Scottish resort. We shared a family room in a hotel. We walked, we ate out, we picnic-ed, we rode a steam train, we swam. We came home exhausted.
On reflection, the hotel was good because it meant no cooking, no cleaning, no tidying up. A shared room was not good at bed time. Having a swimming pool was fantastic.
The best kind of holiday with children I can imagine at the moment would involve plenty of safe outdoor play space, easy to supervise from a comfortable seat; a beach within walking distance; a minimum need for cars; good weather; an excellent book; plenty of interesting toys (preferably some-one else’s so they have novelty value); like-minded friends to go with (resulting in children to play with, options to share cooking and tidying up, mutual baby-sitters available, good company guaranteed, someone to beat at Pictionary.) Where would I stay? Probably not a hotel. Given unlimited resources? My own private castle, with swimming pool, invisible cook, house-keeper and maid. In reality, I think I’d like to try a large caravan.
See how the Kolb cycle works? For real learning to take place, I need to try these ideas out. Roll on our next holiday.