Family Bonding Time

What do you get when you put 2 adults and 2 teenagers in a 300 sq. ft hotel room with 2 double beds and 1 tv for a weekend? The answer you might expect would be disaster. In our fortunate case, I would call it “family bonding time”. Being confined to a smaller space with fewer options for things to do compels everyone to be more considerate of each other and more tolerant of distractions. All of the following values enhanced our experience:

Consideration– The most noticeable adjustment was that everyone cleaned up after themselves. At home I would have found clothing littering their bedroom floors, but in the hotel every inch of floor space was precious. Surprisingly, everyone picked up after themselves and stored their clothes in the assigned drawers. I never had to ask them to clean up! I don’t think this was out of courtesy for others as much as not wanting to step on their things, but the result was very pleasing.

Coordination– Even though it was a weekend, my high school student had a ton of homework. The desk was located in a nook of the room which offered a tiny measure of privacy. We set her up at the desk with her books and lap top. I even unplugged the coffee pot since there were only enough outlets for the desk lamp and computer at the same time. Usually when she works, she likes peace and quiet, but she learned how to focus on her assignment while the football game was on in the background. My son had brought his iPad along and was able to watch videos with his headphones. I relocated the chair so I would not be too close to the desk and was able to enjoy my book without too much distraction from the tv.

Conservation -There were a refrigerator and microwave in the room. I had brought 2-liter bottles of our favorite drinks from home, as well as hot chocolate mix and popcorn. Instead of asking for money to spend at the vending machine, my son became very good at filling the ice bucket and grabbing chips from our snack supply. When it came to restaurant choices, I noticed how flexible everyone was willing to be. Usually we debate for half an hour on which to choose, but over the weekend  for some reason either the closest restaurants were perfect or everyone understood that cooperation was necessary. We never had a discussion about it. One place was suggested each time and that is where we went. I think there was also an unspoken consensus that we were picking one expensive dinner and one cheap one. The kids chose appropriately from the menus without any budget being mentioned.

Cooperation– Finally, in the evening after our return from dinner and a final stab at homework, we would get into our pjs and use one of the beds for a family game. Apples to Apples gave us a fun non-electronic activity which had us laughing. Taking turns leading, respecting each other’s judgment and gracefully accepting winning or losing are all important aspects of life and playing a game that reinforces these is valuable time spent together.

Apples to Apples

Image via Wikipedia

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pegleg Web Designs
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 11:58:04

    Most of the time when families run into a situation such as yours, it only ends up in disaster. Looks like you did some things right in raising your children to be considerate of others!

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    • themiddlegeneration
      Jan 17, 2012 @ 12:25:51

      It’s nice to hear you say that. I’m not sure how it happens, and like I pointed out, it is not normal behaviour at home. I guess it shows there is something positive being absorbed and reappearing at unexpected times.

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  2. Carol
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 12:57:38

    Isn’t it great when the kids come through for you and you can believe you did something right?

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  3. themiddlegeneration
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 13:38:27

    It does make me feel like I am doing my job as a parent when I see how they conduct themselves outside of our home. I can see the values I want them to have are in place.

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