Linda & Richard Eyre: Whether it's tennis, camping or boating, family getaways are worth the time, expense

Published: Wednesday, March 20 2013 5:05 a.m. MDT

What most families need, now and again, is a getaway.

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — It is said that every family can benefit from a chosen sport or activity in which all members have interest and participate.

For us, it is tennis.

We spent a pleasant part of last week in Indian Wells, Calif., by Palm Springs, watching one of the best tennis tournaments in the world.

We were joined by two of our sons and their wives, and a good time was had by all.

For those who live in Salt Lake, early March is the best time to get out of the snow and cold for a couple of days. And in our opinion, there is no better place to do it than Palm Springs, especially if you like tennis.

All the best players on the planet are there, and whether you go the first week when there are matches on every court, or the second week when it is down to the final rounds, it can be the kind of break almost everyone needs and enjoys — even those who do not live and breathe tennis.

But wait, this is a column about family and life.

So why are we writing about tennis?

Simply because what most families need, now and again, is a getaway. And what many parent-child relationships need is a bit of one-on-one time between father and son, father and daughter, mother and daughter or mother and son.

So much of the best efforts and results in parenting come not in big groups or full family activities but in exclusive “mommy dates” or “daddy dates.”

And from our standpoint, it’s not coincidental that this great tennis tournament happens during spring break and is not too long of a drive. It’s the drive, by the way, where lots of the best talking gets done.

Just that drive is an escape in itself. Every mile further south you get, the less snow and the more green you see. Just escaping the Wasatch Front and heading into the central part of the state seems to open up the big, wide vistas and marvelous skyscapes, and by the time you pass through St. George, blossoms and daffodils begin to appear.

So why not just stop in St. George for the family getaway? Fine, great idea. Or head southeast instead of southwest and try the offseason at Lake Powell.

For our family, it’s the annual Paribas Open in Indian Wells. It’s world-class tennis, and our family appreciates the sheer athleticism and artistry of the sport.

Big-time tennis tournaments like this — with 25 courts and singles and doubles matches going on all day and at night under the lights — are a unique and interesting family or one-parent and one-child adventure. We pay once, and we’re in for the day, just like an amusement park, but for less money.

If you’ve got tennis players in the family, it’s a no-brainer. And if you don’t, who knows? Maybe a look at the best players and the excitement of competition at this level will inspire someone to take up the game.

But that’s just us. Whether it’s tennis or boating or camping or whatever, remember that little getaways now and then are, from a communication standpoint, worth the time and expense they require.

Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit them anytime at www.EyresFreeBooks.com or www.valuesparenting.com. Their latest Deseret e-book is “On the Homefront."

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