The very word, ”vacation” conjures in our mind, idyllic times spent in native places eating mangoes and jamun, playing endlessly in the sun , waking up at leisure without the rush of going to school, having aimless but full days with siblings and friends; such a happy time that our heart craves to go back to those times. The only trips we knew were trips to the native place or to our relatives for weddings. Vacation songs were also made about going to the mama’s village.
I remember being taught this famous Marathi song as a kid,” mamachya gaavala jauya”
If we were lucky some of us had vacations in which we visited places as a tourist. Vacations abroad were for the select privileged few, like maybe one kid in school.
With the changing urban scenario and upwardly mobile professionals as parents, vacations nowadays are filled with so many activities and trips, that at times vacations are more hectic than school times
This has had many positive as well as a few negative changes
Journeys to different parts of the country make the child understand the rich culture and traditions in our diverse country. This is a very good way to make history and geography come alive for them. Let them learn about historical places and people in a very practical way, such that it no longer remains like a theoretical subject for them.
Similarly, they can learn the different geographical regions we have like the hilly areas, the deserts and the coastal region with their own diverse clothing, cuisines, folk dances and languages. A child’s mind is like a sponge. They learn many different and new things. In the same way a child’s palate becomes adaptable by tasting versatile flavours. They understand about how different climatic conditions change the type of dwelling, foods and clothing of people.
This is best way we can inculcate in them that in spite of so many diversities in our country, with a sound understanding and acceptance for different traditions, it is possible to coexist in harmony and in fact learn from each other.
If you can afford international travel, the same thing when applied globally, makes the child a world citizen by understanding foreign cultures cuisines & architecture. They can learn about different etiquettes of the countries they visit, about time zones and customs. With the increasing migration for jobs and education, this exposure will stand in good stead should such a situation arise in their lives.
Let the journey and the destination, fill them with wonder for our beautiful environment. This will inculcate a sense of protection for the ecosystem of our planet. They will also learn about human adaptations for any climate and spark their curiosity.
At the same time, the downside to all this is, vacations have become status symbols in some cases. Rather than refreshing the stressed out mind and healing the tired body, they have become indicators of our level on the social ladder; where going to our native place is the lowest rung followed by national destinations with international destinations occupying the top slot. Taking selfies with tag lines about exotic destinations has become more important than enjoying the place and with loved ones.
A journey should be planned keeping in mind the interests and comfort of all the members of the family. Remember, inconveniences or rough times during a journey become learning experiences in adjustment. The same things which you laugh or cry about during a journey induce a feeling of nostalgia when you reminisce about them.
Thus, vacations and travel can be a very good educational experience for the journey called life.
Oliver Goldsmith said, “Life is a journey which must be travelled, no matter how bad the roads and accommodation”
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