Full question: What did your family do on Sundays when you were on vacation? Did you go to part or all of church meetings? How did you spend the rest of the day?
Ten parents answered this question. Of the answers, about half attended the full block, half usually attended only Sacrament Meeting, and one didn't make a big effort to attend church while on vacation.
Some responses regarding attendance were: "We always went to the full three-hour block. we felt it sent a clear message that being faithful in meeting attendance wasn't something you do only at home." "We always tried to go to our church meetings when on vacation....When it was impossible, we held our own meetings and would include a family testimony meeting. Those were always sweet." "In all honesty when we were on vacation we only went to church if it was easy...There were alot of times we just tried to make it a low key family day." "We always attend church when we go on vacation and stay for the whole block." "We were usually camping and made an effort to attend sacrament meeting. We usually did not stay for the entire block."
As far as keeping the Sabbath day holy the rest of day, here were some responses: "We kept as many of the 'at home' rules as possible..." "We made sure we purchased food for Sunday so we didn't have to go out to eat." "Our activities for the day after church didn't change much from the other days, except that we never went swimming on Sunday and tried to avoid things that cost money." "We tried to spend time at the beach or parks rather than something commercial." "We generally held a family night." "We...did not shop or go to acitivities that cost money."
Samantha and Thomas
When we were on vacation, we always went to the full three-hour block. We felt it sent a clear message that being faithful in meeting attendance wasn't something you only do at home. And we think it helped our kids get over the fear of unfamiliar people and places. (Our one daughter was painfully shy, so we sometimes let her go to class with her sister.)
For the rest of the day, we kept as many of the "at home" rules as possible, keeping activities in line with honoring the Sabbath--no swimming pools or trampolines, etc. Usually there were opportunities for peaceful enjoyment of nature, visiting elderly relatives or visiting sites like temple square or local sites more suited to the day. Generally, we would stay in our Sunday clothes, which also helps remind the kids that it's not "just another day."
Marianne and John
We always tried to go to our church meetings when on vacation. The kids never liked going to the other meetings besides Sacrament Meeting since they didn't know anybody. We usually had a few tears but in the end they enjoyed it, made new acquaintances and grew in confidence. When it was impossible, we held our own meetings and would include a family testimony meeting. Those were always sweet. We also tried to keep the Sabbath holy which was hard if we were at the beach or somewhere. We made sure we purchased food for Sunday so we didn't have to go out to eat.
Rachel and Bennett
We always went to church wherever we were. Sometimes the kids were shy about going to a new church, but if we were going to have trouble with the kids going to their classes, we kept them with us. Sometimes we just went to sacrament meeting. We always emphasized the importance of attending our meetings even while on vacation. Also, we would try to buy food on Saturday that we could eat for breakfast Sunday morning in our hotel room. Occasionally we were even organized enough to buy food for sandwiches for the rest of the day, so we didn't have to shop on Sunday. Our activities for the day after church didn't change much from the other days, except that we never went swimming on Sunday. and tried to avoid things that cost money.
Brianne and Spencer
In all honesty when we were on vacation we only went to church if it was easy. Back then you couldn't just go online and find addresses and meeting times. There were alot of times we just tried to make it a low key family day. We tried to spend time at the beach or parks rather than something commercial.
Cynthia and Brad
If we were visiting family and they were church goers, we went to their church even tho not LDS. If they didn't go to church, we would go to Sacrament meeting only. The "Mormon" "Holier than thou" was picked up by our family and it did not go over well. So we were careful around family. If we were on our own we went to the LDS church if there was one around. If there wasn't, then we tried to spend a respectful Sunday. But missing church one or two Sundays a year? We just didn't stress out about it. The Lord knew our hearts.
Abigail and Martin
We always attend church when we go on vacation and stay for the whole block. We even did this when we were in Mexico. We brought church magazines and videos as well as quiet “Sunday” type games. We generally held a family night. We also read. We did not visit attractions or go swimming, but we did take walks and found quiet places to read or rest.
Marsha and Richard
Much of our vacation time was spent with family, so we went to church with them. When we were with inactive or non-member family or friends, we usually just attended Sacrament Meeting. That was also true when our travel took us to vacation spots. We preferred not to travel on Sunday but found ourselves doing so sometimes to accommodate our vacation schedule, however, we tried our best to attend a Sacrament Meeting service first. Traveling on Sunday is not the “ideal” since it also requires buying gas, food, etc, which are not our normal Sunday activities.
The Sabbath is still the Sabbath, wherever we are. And we believe in observing it, consequently, we planned our Sabbath activities to be in harmony with our desire to use that day to worship, draw closer to family and serve others. When we were with active family members, that’s was no problem. Others also knew us well enough and worked with our Sunday choices. It was a good day to visit, take walks, play games as well as attend meetings.
Recently 35 of our children and families gathered for a holiday weekend in the mountains. We attended all the meetings together, returned for a nice dinner that had been mostly prepared ahead, took a walk to see a new cabin they are building, played games and then had a fireside around the facility’s fire pit where my husband lead a discussion on “desire” and what an important principle that is as a first step to accomplishing our goals. There was a sweet Spirit there and it was satisfying to have input from children and grandchildren. There was a big opening party taking place at the facility’s swimming pool and many other activities available, but that wasn’t a consideration by anyone for that day. We felt good about our observance of the Sabbath.
Danielle and Jake
We were usually camping and made an effort to attend sacrament meeting. We usually did not stay for the entire block. We reverently enjoyed the remainder of the day, did not shop or go to acitivities that cost money, played games, cooked, ate, laughed and played.
Jane (and Samuel)
We didn't vacation much but we had a few memorable vacations at Lake Powell. I can still see the peaceful water and hear our daughters' sweet voices singing How Great Thou Art as part of our "church" on the top of the houseboat with our cousins. We always tried to go to church or to have our own commemoration. We did not go water skiing on Sunday or Swimming or to Amusement Parks. We really wanted to observe the Sabbath the best we could where ever we were.
Karen and Lance
When we went on vacation we got our campsite and then looked for a ward nearby. The church meetings were separated then and so we went to Sacrament meeting only. It was a way from our campsites, usually. We figured that that was good enough while we were out. We probably would have stayed the whole three hours if it was like now, since we were dressed and the vacation was toned down on Sunday anyway, even at home. We went back to camp and relaxed and probably went in the lake, or stream that was at the campground, but with less exuberance as the rest of the week. We usually stayed two weeks so we had plenty of time to play and hike. Sunday is still Sunday wherever you are.
Next week's question: Looking back, is there anything you wish you had done differently with your marriage while you were in the midst of raising kids? Or, is there anything that particularly helped you keep a strong marriage relationship during those years?