When my kids were little, our summertime family beach vacation was anything but a restful vacation. Wonderful, yes! But, as all moms know, babies at the beach mean a "change of scenery" not "toes-in-the-sand, beach chair and Pina Colada" relaxation. Surely, vacationing with college-aged young adults can be more restful, right? ...sometimes.
With older kids at the beach, we moms often exchange the harried physical busyness of babies for the harried emotionality that VIGILANCE requires. "Vigilance" is my own personal parenting buzzword for vacationing with college-aged young adults.
On vacation, do your young adults stay up late and sleep until noon? Do they share in "vacation chores" like cooking, laundering beach towels, wiping down bathrooms? Do they party with their cousins? Bar hop with friends? The vacation boundaries you set are no doubt perfect for your family, but enforcing them requires vigilance.
Vigilance is a subset of the cardinal virtue of Fortitude, which is defined as "a steadiness of will in doing good in spite of difficulties faced in the performance of one's duty." Practically speaking, vigilance may require that parents oversee a teen's chores, or wait up if they go out with friends, or nudge them about getting out of bed in the morning.
Since parents are on vacation too, it can be difficult to muster the parental energy to enforce house rules, but that's what living fortitude looks like. Where do we find the grace? The willpower? First and foremost, we NEVER take a vacation from daily prayer. The very best vacations begin with 15-20 minutes of quiet time with Jesus. Also, as Catholics, we can remember to call on our army of intercessors (the saints in heaven) to strengthen our resolve when being vigilant gets tiring. Below are some words of encouragement from three of our heavenly champions.
Teach us to give and not count the cost. -St. Ignatius of Loyola
Fortitude is the disposition of soul which enables us to despise all inconveniences and the loss of things not in our power. –St. Augustine
“Nothing great is ever achieved without enduring much.” St. Catherine of Siena
I pray you and your college-aged young adults enjoy a wonderful family vacation this summer!