The 10 commandments of international travel with teens

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St. Peters in Vatican City looking down from the duomo. Photo Credit: Scott Ferranti

We just got back from a fabulous family trip to Italy with our four teenaged kids. As you probably know, some of the most amazing things to see in Italy are churches. After awhile, the smell of incense and the glowing light of vigil candles, some thoughts began to form in my mind. I can’t say I climbed a mountain and came down with stone tablets and these are probably not from God, but here goes:

Thou shalt have no cellular data while on this trip. Thou shalt use restraint when discovering there is Wi Fi at many restaurants. Thou shalt not use Wi Fi to snapchat during every. single. family. meal.

Thou shalt not take the name of the lord in vain, even if there is a whole store for Bialetti coffee makers with sizes ranging from espresso to large enough to hold Renato Bialetti’s ashes.

Remember the day of the week while traveling and also when you return so you don’t forget it’s wednesday and not do your blog post.
Honor thy mother and father, especially when they take you to try an italian tradition that involves wine and an unclear number of snacks you may think are gross.

Thou shalt extend interest in the bible to going to church with your poor parents every once in a while.
Thou shalt not continue daily 4 cappuccino habit upon returning home.
Thou shalt not drink too much nor spit out and/ or gag on the wine poured for you because waiter thinks you are 18 and/or Italian laws about drinking age are a little fuzzy.
Thou shalt eat gelato daily. Thou will thoroughly enjoy gelato and in the moment believe the person who told you this was the BEST gelato made in the town you are currently eating gelato. Thou may secretly think that gelato isn’t really ALL that.
Thou shalt listen to the tour guides incredible information about the coliseum’s 2000 year history and not spend most of the time trying to lure one of the stray cats there close enough to pet it.
Thou shalt not covet your sister’s pencil on the plane ride home, nor claim this pencil was yours to begin with, to the point that mom has to confiscate the pencil in the manner of parenting toddlers.