Over spring break, three generations of my family used college visits with my daughter as reason for a family gathering in New York City.
The trip, with a group of eight, ranging in ages from 17-81, required careful logistics and on-the-field adjustments. It involved compromises, level-setting expectations and moving a mixed-age group across the city. Using public transit. In the rain.
It also involved some amazing shared family experiences. We traveled to the Metropolitan Museum to view the period room of a long ago Dutch ancestor. And we visited the 9/11 museum, made even more profound by the fact that this tragic moment in our country’s history was a lived experience for all of our family.
It would have been easier to streamline the process, making the trip with just parents and daughter – rather than including aunt and uncle, big brother and grandparents. Or if we’d let go of our long held family value of mastering the subway system in every city we visit.
The richness of any family experience often comes from the complexity. It’s true in travel and in philanthropy. Take the risk of trying it together, use each other’s strengths, hang on to your shared values and expect the inevitable frustrations. You’ll get to Brooklyn in a rain storm at rush hour, or wherever it is your family is trying to go.