Choosing the Best Vacation for Your Family

Choosing the Best Vacation for Your Family

You might ask, “Why is a relationship intelligence company talking about my choice of vacation for my family?”  Well, there is a direct connection between the kind of vacations we prefer and our Motivational Value System!  If you understand what makes you and other members of your family happy, you will make decisions about vacations that will make more people happy.

For many years, when we did training about relational intelligence, we asked the question, “What do you think heaven will be like?”  We asked people to write down their answers and then share them with the group.  The answers given enabled us to accurately guess their Motivational Value System (what was most important to them) simply from the content of their answer.

Let me demonstrate through a few examples.  Those who were motivated by People (BLUE, Acceptance) spoke about heaven in terms of relationships.  They talked about the people they would see that had passed, or things they would do with those who would be there in heaven with them.  Some spoke of heaven almost like a party where we celebrate together.  Those who were motivated by Performance (RED, Significance) often struggled with the question.  They voiced confusion about heaven being something to look forward to if there was no competition.  “How could heaven be a great place to be if everyone played golf perfectly”, one quipped.  For these people, they couldn’t imagine a happy place where one person couldn’t excel over another.  They loved striving so much, they couldn’t picture a place without that important ingredient (I’m not suggesting heaven will be like that).  Those who were motivated by Process (GREEN, Security) often spoke about what it would be like to have knowledge and understanding.  Another common response was to anticipate a place with no pain or struggle.

What we enjoy and bring us happiness is closely connected to our MVS (Motivational Value System).   What we long for and is satisfying is reflected in our MVS.  This has implications for how we pursue leisure and vacation.  If you are like our family, we all have different MVS’s and like different things.  Knowing the MVS of my spouse will help me to plan a vacation that will appeal to them as much as to myself.  I have to confess, that this has been a struggle throughout our marriage because we love different things!

When we first were married, we moved to Colorado for graduate school.  We both wanted to explore the west.  Neither of us had traveled there and we hoped to see everything in the area.  The problem came when we started planning how to go about it.  My wife wanted to join a tour bus and have someone who knows where to go, plans out our trip, and tell us everything about where we were going.  I can’t think of any worse way to see the west!  My idea was to get in a car and explore like Lewis and Clark.  I wanted to stop and hike, fish, and have a picnic when we felt like it.  I wanted to pull over and take pictures of the grizzly bear charging at us!  The last place I wanted to be was at the mercy of a bus driver on a cookie cutter tour, standing in line with a group of people.  My wife loved the idea of having the security of a driver who knew where we were going and information they would provide.  She reveled in the idea of going with other people, even if she didn’t know them yet.  You can probably guess her MVS!  You know that my desire to win and persuade won the day (not all the time).  And yes, we did get chased by a grizzly bear, an angry moose, and several bull elk.  The danger made it even more fun – at least for me.  Driving along the steep cliffs in the Rocky Mountains was fun, even when we lost our brakes with a 5,000 pound trailer behind us.  Don’t worry, the horn worked as we came screaming through Durango blowing through every light.  What a memorable trip!

What is your MVS and what is the MVS of those you will be traveling with for vacation?  It is possible to plan a vacation that will appeal to all of you.  Consider what kind of vacation will be enjoyed by all.  Some love learning and enjoy growing their knowledge through visiting museums and tours.  Others prefer adventure and like rock climbing or surfing.  Still others would like to visit family, go dancing, or go on a cruise ship.

It would be a great discussion to talk with your family about their MVS and how that impacts the kind of things they love to do that brings them joy and happiness.  Together you can plan a vacation that will leave everyone refreshed.  It may take some compromise, but you can find a way for each person to say, “That was a great vacation.”

We can also learn to enjoy the things that are not naturally enticing and perhaps doesn’t seem exciting.  I have to believe that my wife looks back on the crazy vacation adventures we have taken with some level of pleasure and good memories.  I know for me that the times we hired tour directors and joined various walking tours in places we knew little about, I reflected with a smile.  Not only did I actually enjoy it, but watching the joy it brought my wife brought me joy as well.

Happy vacationing this summer!

Bruce Terpstra

Our President, Dr. Bruce Terpstra, has 36 years of pastoral ministry experience. He is a veteran of 17 years in denominational leadership and developed more than 70 new churches in the New York metro area and has given oversight to almost 400 pastors. He holds a doctorate in Leadership Development and is also the founder of 3KeyCoaching and the author of Three Passions of the Soul.