The TV ad showed the cute smiles of the little kids as they gleamed bright when they were told by mom and dad, “We are all going to Disney World!”
Finally – mom and dad saved up the money for this momentous trip. After all, what decent respected parent would not WANT their kid to experience all the fake glamour that Disney World has to offer? Not to mention that their kids have been bugging them ever since their friend who lives down the block came back with their own autographed Mickey Mouse hat. That their cousins went, many of their classmates went, and of course, the enticing TV ads that show happy happy happy (did I say happy?) kids hugging their mom and dad when they found out they were going.
It almost seems (to me anyway) that the real underlying theme to these ads are, “Hey mom & dad, you will certainly be a jerk to your kids if you DON’T take them to Disney World. Your kids will hate you and look, every other kid your kids know have already been there. Do you want to look bad in the eyes of your neighbors, relatives, friends,and your kids? Do the right thing mom & dad, cough up that credit card and take your kids – NOW! It will be a trip of a lifetime. DO YOU WANT TO DEPRIVE YOUR KIDS OF A TRIP OF A LIFETIME?”
And what will be the results? You will now not be looked down on as “bad parents” because you did the “right thing.” You will have some cute photos and videos of your kids and definitely, you will have more stuff (junk) that you bought for your kids there and now will eventually be sold at your future garage sale for a quarter each.
But what did your kids really get out of it. Time as a family together – yes, and that is important. Any lessons learned? – That Goofy is a cool dude? OK, no – not really.
THE REAL WORLD
What about the idea of taking your kids out of their (and your) comfort zone? What about exposing your children to other ways of living, other cultures, and show them some real outdoor pristine nature areas.
Why not let your kids experience – icy cold mountain stream water on their face, to run down tall mountainous sand dunes in giant leaps, to eat local indigenous foods they have never seen before, to play football (soccer) with kids from another country (on their field in their country), to visit places where internet is not available, to experience the uncomfortableness of being in a country where the people all around them speak a different language, to learn how to make handmade tortillas, or to go out with a local fisherman and learn how to throw a net to catch fish – you get the idea.
Traveling to non-commercialized areas of the world is the best classroom and may also turn out to be the best vacation experiences you can ever have with your kids.
You will still get great photos and videos of your family, but unlike Disney World, your kids may make international friends along the way, you will have exposed them to a better understanding and respect for the differences in people and their cultures, and you will have shared unique family travel experiences that even your neighbors and friends may never ever have.
Disney World or the Real World.
OK Mom & Dad – you decide.