|On the Trail in the Valley of the Giants|
Peak your children’s interest in family vacations with attention-grabbing questions. Like a math equation, you need to factor in the age of all children present.
“How would you like to hug a real live giant?” My husband asked his eager children during one of our vacation planning sessions.
It was the 7th grader, the realist, who finally rolled her eyes. I saw her considering my husband’s words first. “Dad,” she said. “There are no real live giants. That’s just pretend.”
The young twins, on the other hand, were holding their breath, their blue eyes eager for some real giants.
Then that familiar twinkle crept back into my husband’s eye. “Oh yes there are,” he said, and I could see the excitement rise in our children’s faces, even the realist’s.
“And they’re in,” he hesitated long enough to pop the children out of their seats to surround him.
“Where, where, where?” They chanted.
Squeals of delight filled the dining room as the children danced around the table. Then our son suddenly stopped the parade.
“I don’t think I want to hug one,” he said, the twins bumping into his back.
“You’ll want to hug this giant,” I told him. “You’re a tree hugger, like me.”
“These giants are trees, the mighty Sequoia trees,” I informed all the children.
Once you get the children hooked, have them do a bit of research because sometimes with children, seeing is believing. In the old days this meant a trip to the library. Not any more. Now we just pull up the internet and search for Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park.
“The largest living trees in the world,” our oldest daughter read.
“These trees are thousands of years old,” the realist told us.
“That’s right,” I said.
Once the children saw these massive evergreen trees in real life, these broccoli-topped giants; their mouths hung open nearly as wide as the tree trunks. The children did in fact hug the soft cinnamon-colored bark of these gentle giants, even though they could only reach about four feet of the 68 foot circumference.
One trip to these magnificent National Parks is not enough. In the cacophony of life, it may be that nature is the only place to find the peace needed to turn inside oneself to reflect on what’s important. What do you think? Peace and inspiration can be found in many places. I could spend a lifetime in the Giant Forest and never be bored.
Let’s hope those in charge of the United States government come to an agreement soon so that visitors may enjoy the beauty of our national parks.