don’t take your kids to vegas.

So if you happened to catch my “Flickr” pictures at all in the past week, you may have noticed I traveled to Las Vegas.  A close friend who I’ve known since college actually earned the trip through his work, for him and one guest.  He asked me if I’d like to be his “plus one”, and that way our wives could hang out for an extended “play-date” while we were gone.  Sure enough, the offer included flight, some great free food, tickets to a great show, staying at the Bellagio – and all under the accountability of a fellow man who wants to honor God and his family.  Yes please. 🙂

It ended up being a great trip, as imagined.  Sure, there were quite a few times where one of us had to briefly explain, “No thanks, I’m not here for ________  (women, gambling, getting drunk, and/or any variation on these).”  Which is why, if asked whether or not Vegas* is a good place to take a vacation, I’d quickly answer “No, don’t go.  There are sooo many better places for your money and time.”

But if the question is: “Someone else is paying for everything, can I enjoy time in Vegas?”, my answer would be “Of course!  Make sure you take your wife or an accountability partner, and have a great time!”

Also, if the question arises – “Is Vegas a good destination for people with kids?”, my answer comes quick as well “No way.  Any references to decency and child-friendliness that exist in Vegas, are simply to trick parents into coming.”  The character dressed in whatever childrens pop-icon might exist that year.  The over-sized 3-d images of circus-themed what-nots.   The festive decor and music being pumped through your eyes and ears above the siren-song of the slot machines.

Which made me wonder – where is “Vegas” in our everyday life?  What have we brought into our home, simply because it comes to us under the guise of “child-friendly”?   One could spend forever making a list of specifics (toys, foods, entertainments, etc.), so think instead of the over-arching veins.  The foundations of Vegas are self-pleasure and the fulfillment of personal desires.  How much of our parenting is spent making our children happy, and how much is spent helping them to move “outside” themselves?

I’m not against giving my kids something to make them smile, but if my primary focus as a parent is to always keep my kids happy, fulfilling their every wish – I’m taking them to Vegas waaay too often.  As parents learn every day – living simply, cultivates a grateful spirit.

*Obviously this doesn’t apply to the entire “Las Vegas”.  I recognize it’s simply a city, with schools, and fire stations, and public playgrounds, etc.  My opinion and responses here are entirely dedicated to “The Strip” that in most minds represents “Las Vegas”.  Sidenote – if you’re ever in Las Vegas, you need to visit Winchells Donuts, located directly across from Mandalay Bay!  Best and freshest donuts in Vegas, and incredible service to dunk them in!!

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