Using travel to develop character in your children

Travel Perspectives — By on November 23, 2009 at 7:15 am

Traveling with children. It’s a nightmare scenario for some people, but for many others it’s a not-to-be-missed family activity and an indispensable tool for teaching children about life in the world. Rachel Denning just wrote a great article for Boots ‘n All about this topic.

It’s long been thought of as an activity that can’t be done with a family, especially small children; it was a choice you had to make – travel, or start a family, but not both.

However, there is a rise in the number of families who are making travel a reality, with infants and older, and they’re doing it deliberately as a way to educate, expand, and inform their children in ways that are not possible by staying at home.

Are these parents crazy? Although they’ve been asked this question many times, the reality is that they simply realize the tremendous benefits of personal growth and character development, not to mention adventure and fun, available from family travel.

She includes five tips for using travel as a way of developing character in your children (and even in yourself). Here is one of her suggestions:

Get Uncomfortable

Although difficult for most people to do for themselves, let alone to purposefully inflict on their children, being uncomfortable actually means that you are experiencing growth.

Instead of planning the usual, touristy trip, try something new, and well… a little uncomfortable. Think about visiting someplace you might not have considered before, a location that is a bit out of your comfort zone – South America instead of Europe, Dominica instead of Disneyland.

The first time I ever traveled outside of the United States was when I was in my early twenties. My family had taken a vacation to San Diego, and we spent a day visiting Tijuana, Mexico.

During the initial half hour of our visit, I felt literally sick to my stomach. I hated it, I just wanted to run away. I had no real-life concept of the kinds of conditions that others lived in throughout the world, and when I came face to face to it, I was extremely uneasy.

Yet that trip has stayed with me. It planted a seed that has grown more with each journey, and has given me a huge heart for humanitarian work, and a desire to relieve suffering worldwide.

Check out her entire story for other such tips, including extending the stay, getting grateful, starting them young, and giving back.

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  1. Kristina says:

    Yeah, all the while torturing other travelers, thereby, developing their patience and character as well. 🙂

  2. Very nice article. I believe that children should experience a lot of things outside TV and traveling is a great option. Just a word of caution though, being young, kids are usual targets of diseases that come with travels(diarrhea, stomach aches, insect bites, etc.) Make sure your first aid kit is ready.

  3. Adriana says:

    Hi Bob!!!
    first of all – it´s great to find another UWP blog out there!!! 😉
    I´m a Cast A 2006 uppie!!
    I love your blog! will have to visit often!
    I´m adding it to my favorites!

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    Bob Riel is a writer and a traveler. Go here to read more about Bob, his work and the Travels in the Riel World blog.

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