It Might Be The Most Important Lesson

Editor’s Note: There are two things you need to know right off the bat:

  1. I am being compensated for this post by the fine folks at Groupon.

  2. Their cash doesn’t influence my opinion but it does help keep the lights on around here. 🙂

One of the most important lessons I have learned in life is to recognize that things and people can be taken away from us but experiences last forever.

Don’t mistake that for me trying to sell or fear or scare you into doing things because some bad stuff may happen because it might not.

You could be one of those people who are fortunate enough to live relatively drama free lives where the people you love are healthy and live long lives and your cash flow is never interrupted or disturbed in such a way that you have to give things up.

These things do happen and they happen more frequently than some people realize, but there are plenty of other people who have different experiences.

Sometimes it is having to say goodbye to loved ones who die far too young or sometimes it is something else.

Since I write about what I know I can say I have experienced some rougher moments and that has impacted how I approach life.

I like to think it has helped make me more appreciative of the good times and the people I share them with.

Experiences Cannot Be Taken Away

One of the changes that came because of these bumpier moments is my desire to collect experiences and to give my children as many as I can.

Experiences can’t be taken away so I look for tools and resources I can use to help facilitate making more for us.

Groupon Coupons like this one help make those experiences happen for us.

They help me find ways to save a couple of bucks here and there so we can take family trips and see places and spaces we might not otherwise get to see.

Those vacations will likely provide better memories than trendy clothes or fancy sports cars. Hell, there are few things that compare to watching my kids smile and laugh together.

There is a sense of satisfaction and pleasure that comes with it that you don’t get in any other way.

I have two trips I have to plan for this summer. Two family events that I can’t miss and a bunch of other expenses that can’t be avoided, so you can bet your bippy that I’ll be searching Groupon for as many deals as I can find.

Travel and food deals are usually available.

With a little work and some luck we’ll share some big adventures and come back with stories we’ll tell and revisit for the next 80 or so years.

Yes, I said 80 or so because I plan on living that long or longer.

Disclosure: As stated at the top I was compensated for writing this post but all opinions are mine.

The Best Family Vacations Are Free

one slip

You might ask yourself why a father would dance a jig as the sun slowly set when he could be seated in a comfortable chair enjoying his favorite drink while watching the waves lap against the shore.

Or if you are like me you might wonder if you could still throw a football 80 yards with enough velocity and accuracy to smack that dancing fool or his way too smug companion in the head.

It would make one hell of a story, especially if you could say you got away with it but that sort of antisocial behavior would make people wonder about you and there is a damn good chance you’d get your own pair of silver bracelets.

Trust me, I’d tell you it is not worth getting arrested.

Some of you might wonder if you fell down the rabbit hole of the blogosphere and are probably asking yourself who the hell is this Jack Steiner guy.

Did he really write a story about a flying clown and a battle with ‘Jersey Santa?’

Do I Have Your Attention?

Fifteen or so years of parenting has done more than provide me with blog fodder and posts where I describe myself as being insouciant about the challenges parents face.

It has helped me ask some very hard questions about my beliefs, my needs and what I want for my children.

Parenting is where I learned that in an age of electronics and instant gratification that sometimes the best way to get my kids to pay attention is to be a little silly and sort of goofy.

They get plenty of time with the serious father who asks them about their days and helps them with their homework. They get plenty of serious time in school.

So I like to try to and mix it up and show them that there is plenty of time to relax and play but the thing is  we never have as much time to do that as we want, at least not like we do when we are on vacation.

The Best Family Vacations Are Free

This isn’t one of those posts where I try to sell you on some wacky idea for obtaining a free vacation. I may be silly and goofy, but I am a bit cynical about what strings are attached to that kind of free vacation.

What I am thinking of here are trips that are free of work and school stress. The kind where everyone leaves their daily baggage at home so they can enjoy spending time together.

When you can’t forget about the office or you have studying/homework looming over your shoulder it is hard to really be present wherever you are.

I suppose that is also part of why I am torn about letting the kids bring their electronics on our vacations because I wonder how their electronic bubble impacts the trip.

But this isn’t about whether the kids should or should not have that gear on the trip. It is about trying to find more opportunities to go away and have more experiences as a family.

As much as I said it is not about finances, part of it is because we are like many families where we don’t have as much disposable income as we would like to so I follow many of the travel websites and look for deals that will work for my family.

I have had good luck with Hotwire so when I heard that there was a Groupon Coupon (see link) that I could use I jumped on it.

Haven’t figured out all of the details for our next trip but I am working on it and every buck I save makes it that much easier to take the trip.

Experiences & Stories

My kids are in high school and middle school so I am even more intent on trying to have share more experiences with them while we can because time moves far too quickly.

Dear old dad is a storyteller and has been his whole life. Go back to the goofy stuff from above and check it out, you’ll see that I know how to spin a yarn or two.

What I hope is that these experiences with the kids give them their own stories to tell and that better yet, they’ll be true stories based upon the good times we had together.

That is what family is all about.

What do you think?

Disclosure: Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.