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From Entertainment to Enrichment: Transforming Summer Vacations through Coaching. By Gregory Bland

Jul 8th, 2010 | By | Category: Parenting

OK, now that our vacation is winding down and we’re on our way home, let’s take turns and we’ll share what our favorite part of the trip was.  Who will go first?
‘I will,’ one of our three children quickly replied and began, ‘my favorite part of this trip was going into the old fort.’

This is a conversation that was entertained during one of our regular family ‘games’ as we travelled home from vacation.  As you continue reading, take notice of how simply the coaching disciplines of  listening and asking open questions naturally transition this experience from simply one of entertainment to an enriching heart-felt experience.

Yes I enjoyed the fort too, what made that your favorite part of the trip?
I really liked that they dressed up and acted like they would have back in the 1700’s.  It was neat to be met at the fort gate by one of the guards who spoke French and made fun of us who couldn’t understand them.  That was a lot of fun!  They were good actors too.   The clothing they wore was pretty neat, and that woman who was sitting in the house and making lace while we watched, that was awesome!
– Pause –
Was there anything else at the Fort that stood out to you?
The tour around the fortress was pretty cool too, and it really gave me an idea of what it would be like to live at that time in the fort.  When we first got to the fort and I was looking around at the buildings, people and area, I thought it would be pretty cool to live back then in the fort with all the people.  But, as the tour guide talked and talked, I realized that it would have been a very hard life and just how good we have it nowadays.
Oh, what do you mean by that?
Well, unless you were one of the richest people there, and owned your own home, you would have to live in the housing provided for you which didn’t give you much room or privacy.  You were given a bunk in a large room with a bunch of other guys, and a chest to keep your stuff in.  The tour guide said that they would sleep in their clothes with their valuables on them because they were scared someone would steal it through the night.  They also did not make very much money, and out of that money they had to buy all of their gun supplies, food, and pay for the place to sleep too.  He told us it would be a very , very smelly place because the guys only showered a couple of times a year.  Also, many of them were here at the fort but their families were overseas, I  couldn’t  imagine that!
It is hard to imagine life like that isn’t it?
Yeah, it is.
So after seeing all of that, tell me what you appreciate about your life right now?
Well, I am glad to be living with my family.
(Laughing) I am very glad to hear that!  What else do you appreciate?
Well, I know I used to complain about sharing a room, but, at least it’s family and someone I know well.  I don’t have to sleep with my stuff while worrying about it being stolen by someone.  – Laughing  – It’s good too that we bathe regularly, because I am not sure I’d like the smell of our house if we didn’t.  Compared to life back then in the fort we really do have a good life and I am thankful for that.

What did you notice about utilizing open questions in the above conversation?
Where did the significant shift in conversation take place?
Did you notice who initiated the shift when the conversation went to a deeper level, the parent or child?
What impact do you perceive conversations of this nature can have upon your children and family?

Choosing to coach our children through vacation experiences has benefited us as a family in the following ways.

a) Coaching has given our children a greater opportunity to consider these experiences at a deeper heart level  and be enriched within their life.

b)  These times of sharing have fostered a deeper connectedness within our family as we listen to and honestly hear what is within the heart and minds of one another.

c)  As a family we are learning, by example and practice, how to actively listen and ask questions about those things that pique our curiosity, which has often taken the conversation to a deeper heart level.

d)  There is a ‘spill over.’  We have entered into some great heart-felt conversation with our children and have also over-heard them engaging in some very rich conversations with one another.

e)  It raises the value of travel time and we have noticed the question, “How much further ‘til we get home?”  is not typically asked within the first hour or so.

As you contemplate travelling this summer (or a possible stay-cation) how could you include coaching as a part of your family time together?

Until next time, may your travels be enriched as you coach your children for greater impact.

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

* The above conversation was gleaned from a recent family trip Cape Breton where one of our stops included the Fortress of Louisburg, Louisburg Nova Scotia, Canada.

*Gregory and Lynn Bland currently reside in Nova Scotia, Canada and are actively coaching, writing a parenting book and developing a course to train parents in Pro-ActiveParentCoaching.  Additionally they are providing interim pastoring for the Maritime District of the PAOC.  For more information check out Pro-ActiveParentCoaching or write to

Copyright 2010 Gregory Bland | Pro-ActiveParentCoaching | Nova Scotia | Canada |

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