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Keeping the Faith on Your Family Vacation

Keeping the Faith on Your Family Vacation

family prayer  |  Summer  |  Family Vacation


I share many check-in phone calls with my elderly father, and his typical send-off is, “Keep the faith, MaryB.” I smile as I recall this because it is Summer and as we plan family vacation time, the phrase "keep the faith" came to mind. Thanks, Dad. Thanks, Jesus. 

Vacations are typically taken as a time of rest. We are a green light, just keep swimming culture and rest can be challenging to come by, especially with children along. I recently shared a conversation with some friends who are in various stages of parenting about how to cultivate family rest time, find your own rest time, keep the faith alive and perhaps grow it while on a family vacation.


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Cultivate family rest time

Pope Francis once emphasized the importance of families wasting time together. Our everyday lives do not afford us time to do this as easily. As I plan a family vacation, I try to remember to leave plenty of room for margin. It’s in the margin that sandcastles are built, marshmallows are roasted, card games begun, and late-night conversations shared.

I also take prayer time to think about where each member of my family is. I watch them to see how they find rest. I have one who loves nature, one who loves to read and draw, one who needs to sleep in the sun, and one who loves to go and do things. So, I try to provide opportunities for all those things over the time we are away. Every day cannot meet everyone’s needs, but I think I can give some time for each to breathe and find rest. 




Make time for your own rest


In taking care of everyone, it’s easy to lose one’s own rest time over vacation. My kids range in age from 22 to 11, and I am surprised by how differently I parent my youngest compared to how I parented the oldest at that same age. I have learned to be honest with my needs. “I am really hoping to have some time to read, take a nice nap, and listen to the waves by the ocean,” I might say. Our children are not insensitive. They have hearts and eyes to see and want to bless us just as much as we seek to bless them.

I used to pour everything into my older kids on vacations and come back more depleted than when we left. Knowing now how important it is to model asking for what we need, I practice this whether on vacation or at home and it works. Everyone is happy to give me time to rest on the beach, knowing that I will be a happier, more alive version of myself after that gift. My husband will likewise ask for some coffee and nature time. Our kids even help make the schedule to make sure everyone’s needs are met. 

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Grow your family's faith

Vacation time can provide an opportunity to grow your family’s faith. Depending on your children's ages, the car ride can be filled with praise songs, an audiobook, or a family Rosary. (My kids even rap a decade in honor of their friend Joe Melendrez.) We have many family memories of attending church at different parishes and missions while on vacation. We have appreciated different architecture at churches, seen beautifully painted statues, and enjoyed how different cultures and ethnic groups worship the same Lord but in different ways. It opens our children's eyes.

Some families might have a mixed group of travelers, where some are practicing the faith and others are not. I have found that my taking time outside our regular activities to attend a daily Mass or grab a holy hour has spoken as a witness and invited more conversation than the uncomfortableness of worrying about who will be going and who will not. An invitation is always extended — but always in charity. 

It is surprising how much a simple holy hour away from the everyday hustle and bustle fills my tank and gives me a spirit of peace. I typically leave these moments with a bit of a personal challenge to create more of these moments when back at home.  




Faith is the backbone of the family. Father Patrick Peyton reminds us that “The family that prays together, stays together” and vacation is a great time away to reboot and begin again. There is rest in prayer. Not only can we “keep the faith” as my father is fond of saying, but we can nurture and grow it. May your vacations be a time of renewal and rest, drawing you and your family closer to the heart of Jesus.  



About MaryBeth Eberhard

MaryBeth Eberhard spends most of her time laughing as she and her husband parent and school their eight children. She has both a biological son and an adopted daughter who have a rare neuromuscular condition called arthrogryposis and writes frequently about the life experiences of a large family and special needs. Read more of her work at MaryBethEberhard.com.