It seems like everything enjoyable costs money. A family outing for just a few hours can sometimes be hundreds of dollars. In a WhatsApp group I am in, someone over the weekend wrote “Looking for a relatively cheap indoor activity for tomorrow. Anyone got any ideas?” Life is expensive, and it seems doing anything other than sitting at home will cost money. But is our level of happiness and enjoyment solely dependent on the amount of money we are willing to spend on an activity? I think not.
I am not proposing we stop doing activities with our kids or always look for the cheapest way out. I am proposing that we rethink what qualifies as enjoyment. Every so often I watch family videos from when I was a kid. It’s the classics you would expect – trip to Disney World, trip to Washington D.C., birthday parties, etc. But many family videos, and sometimes the best ones, are when we are just having fun doing typical at-home activities. Whether it be raking the leaves, shoveling snow, or just playing with toys together, these are some of the fondest memories I have of my childhood.
I barely remember the trip to Washington D.C., I have vague memories of being at the Epcot Center, but I do have fond memories spending time at home playing Lego and doing puzzles with my family. Trying to artificially create a special family moment can work from time-to-time, but letting something be produced organically is much more special. As a kid, I was always jealous of the kids in class who went on vacation and did exciting things at every opportunity, but as an adult, looking back on my childhood, I am happy I got to spend so much time creating memories at home.
There is a famous world-renowned Jewish psychologist who told me that even though he gets invited to spend Passover at the most expensive resorts in the country, he prefers to stay home with his family. He explained that there is nothing like sitting in your own dining room, and having a Passover meal surrounded by family and the walls in which they grew up in. Not many of us would turn down a free invitation to a top resort to stay home with our family, but maybe we should rethink that.
I want you to think back to your childhood, and think about your happiest memories. Did those memories take place on a trip, or did they take place at home? Did those memories cost hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to create, or were they free? Doing activities with your family is important and beneficial, but never underestimate the amazing memories that can be created when you least expect them.