A friend of mine reminded me that I only have nine summers left before my daughter goes to college. When she framed time from this vantage, it knocked me back. Nine summers. That’s not a lot of time. So when the invitation to attend our former pastor’s ordination in South Carolina came, we leaped at the opportunity to turn it to a family vacation weekend.
Road trips for me mean catching up, playing brain games, listening to music, singing together, and most importantly—making memories. These are the times our kids will remember.
As parents, we find teachable moments with our kids, especially when visiting new places that are rich with complex histories. South Carolina is one of those places.
We stopped at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church to learn about the Charleston church shooting—a horrific event where nine African Americans were murdered by a 21-year-old white supremacist as they practiced their faith. We made a commitment not to shield the truth, but instead give them prompts to push their thinking and space to make meaning.
They are grappling with gray areas that even adults find challenging. Some of the questions they asked were: Where does hatred come from? Did they suffer? Is he in prison? Where did he get the gun? Will God forgive him?
While there are no shortcuts to our answers, I am proud of the wisdom my kids impart in the process.
I am also thankful that the rest of the trip was spent with old friends from different parts of the country. Our kids saw their friends as though no time passed. There was a lot of laughter, catching up, tips on parenting, and delicious food. The trip reminded me that it’s the people you’re with that matters. We were all living in the moment and that felt awesome.
Be well beautiful people!