The Twelve Year Old Trip- A Meaningful Family Ritual


I read an amazing book by Bob Goff.  It is called Love Does.  Chapter 20 is called the 10 year old adventure.  It was so inspiring!  Bob Goff takes his children on 10 year old adventures anywhere in the world to learn about life.  It inspired me to create our own tradition.

It’s called the 12 year old trip!

On Hailey’s 11th birthday we told her that we would take her anywhere in the United States (except Alaska and Hawaii.  We aren’t made of money after all!).  We told her that she could plan the trip herself.  The world was hers–or at least 48 states were hers!  Our only restriction was that she would have to earn the money completely herself.  She had one year.

It’s been one year.

And so on Friday we will go to the airport and board a plane for the Big Apple…New York City.  Her choice, although I can’t say I’m disappointed.  I can’t wait feel her excitement when she sees the city for the first time!  I can’t wait to watch her face as she sees Times Square and the Statue of Liberty, to hear her laugh at a Broadway show, to eat hot dogs in Central Park, to cry with her as she learns about the devastation of 9/11- an event that seems so recent to me but happened two years before she was born.  And I can’t wait for the things we can’t plan.  The talks, the jokes, the memories.

But little does Hailey know, the part I was looking forward to has already happened!  I spent the past twelve months watching my daughter learn how to work.  I watched her make babysitting flyers.  We had kids over to our house so that I could teach her how to babysit.  She worked for her Grandparents.  She did odd jobs.  She gave up playing with friends at times so that she could earn a few more dollars.  I know that because of this hard work, the trip she’s dreamed of for a year, the trip she’s studied and planned, will mean so much more to her.

I hope that my daughter will take this experience and weave it into the fabric of her life.  That the hard work, the sacrifices, the pay-off, the lessons will become a part of her.  And I hope that in 20ish years from now I can babysit Hailey’s other kids while she takes her own oldest child on their 12 year old trip so that she can feel the satisfaction that I feel today.

I talked about the 12 year old trip on our show entitled “Meaningful Rituals.”  It’s available by clicking on the right

------------>   Might I suggest a listen?

Until next time; live your beautiful life!

Christie Gardiner is a radio personality, speaker, actress, writer, singer, advocate, mother, wife and friend to all.  Read more of her writing at

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