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Barbados, Egypt, Italy, France, Monaco, The Vatican, United Kingdom, Israel, Hawaii and Australia!

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T H E    F R E E M A N    F A M I L Y

 L to R: David, Joel (dad), Shirley (mom), Shari, Jacob, and Jesse (at the house, 2007)

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on those accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."  -- Mark Twain, 1869


An Open Invitation to Participate in -- "THE MOMENT" -- Dr. Freeman's Latest Book Project

  Your kid's interests, if you follow them, will take you into experiences you didn't give yourself when you were younger. Plus they will help to keep your learning curve going straight up...keep scrolling down to view a few guidelines and benefits from planning such a trip.

  A number of years ago, while studying developmental psychology, a crazy idea popped into my head. I promised each of my kids that when they become 15 they could go anywhere in the world with dad (me). I didn't know where the money was going to come from, but I had a gut feeling that these trips could just well be a huge part of the heritage that I wanted to pass on to each of them. Plus I was hoping that they might pass the same tradition on to the next generation. 

  It was also around that time that I was reading Mark Twain's book, "Innocents Abroad". A certain paragraph from that book reached out and grabbed me by the scruff of the neck. "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on those accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

  It was this Twain quote that really intrigued me and gave me the seed thought for going anywhere in the world with my children when they reached 15 years of age. I wanted to do something that would proactively prepare my children to respect different cultures and would open their eyes to the larger world. The latest demographic studies indicate that by the year 2050 there will be no clear ethnic majority in America. With cultural competency, values are not so much taught as they are caught.

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  These were not to be business trips with my teenagers tagging along. Instead it was to be a time when I was to be totally focused on my children and their wishes, wants and desires. It was not to be about me, it was to be all about them. Let's take a look at what has happened since those individual promises. But first, why would I pick the age of 15?

  Good question.'s just before they get their license to drive and, for all intents and purposes, are pretty much gone from the house -- and it's just before they start working at Burger King. Also, it's a wonderful age to go to another country, re-establishing a foundation for getting through the next 3-4 tough years just before they are gone to college. Hopefully it is a time for re-bonding and for making sure that we are on the same team.

  Some guidelines (see more below) for the trip are that they get to pick where in the world we go, they also have to come up with some of the money for the trip (about $300) -- so that there is some "sweat equity" -- and we both write a daily trip journal. At the end of the trip I present them with a photo album containing each day's photos, museum tickets, faxes to and from home and other memorabilia. Plus we stay at Youth Hostels. Staying in Youth Hostels is an invitation to learn about the local flavor while being introduced to many other cultures. 

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  Shirley took Shari on a Mother and Daughter trip to Barbados April, 2002. That trip finished this particular commitment to all four kids.

  Since then, I have been working my way back through the kids, taking them on business trips with me. Example: Fall of 2002 I spoke at a conference in Stockholm. David (23 at the time) took off some time from his busy video game career to come with me. (David has worked on Spyro the Dragon video game, the Incredible Hulk -- lead tester -- for Universal Interactive and many other video game projects ...I apologize for bragging.) David and I flew with Icelandic Airlines, so we stayed over in Iceland for 5 extra days with old friends of mine (Samuel and Asta' Ingamarsson), along with the 3 days in Sweden. I hadn't seen Samuel and his wife for 25 years. We all had a blast! 

  Another Example: Shari and I went to Ghana (Accra) and Kenya (Nairobi) in 2008. I spoke at the Association of International Schools of Africa (AISA) and we spent two days on a safari on the Masai Mara in Western Kenya.

  << To the left you see a picture of Shari and I ready to go out at around 6:00am in the Land Rover for another day of watching the wild game around the Masai Mara. On this day we saw a rhino, lions eating a gazelle, an ostrich, a leopard and much more. A memorable day indeed! I wouldn't trade these memories for anything!


"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience
is only an adventure wrongly considered."  
--G. K. Chesterton

L to R:  Shari, Jacob, Shirley (Mom), Joel (Dad), Jesse and David [in Barbados, 2005]

  I promised Shirley that she can go anywhere in the world with her husband (me), after all the kids are in College. It is a way for us to transition from one phase (house full of noise and activity) to the next (empty nest or full plate -- whichever it is). Plus it's part of my way of saying "thanks" for all the hard work she has done in raising our children. She has done 90% of the work. No kidding. She and I went to Barbados . The tradition continues. The grandchildren are next...none yet...but whenever...whatever... You know what I mean.

   I lead trips to Israel every year and look forward to the many meaningful sites around that beautiful country. Plus Shirley and I go together. That's a bonus!

   We are bringing all of the children to Israel on these trips as we are able. When you have completed reading this page click on the picture to the right and check out the next trip itinerary. >>

  Check out the collection of pictures and the overview of each trip below. I encourage every viewer of these pages to consider doing something like this with your loved ones. 

   Take your pick: Anywhere in the world, hemisphere, country, region, province or state. I just hope that this is an encouragement for you to make a plan to do something like this.

   It will stretch you financially and other ways, but it is well worth it -- before, during and after the trip!

 NOTE: Near the bottom of this page -- A few of the many guidelines and benefits...

Joel & Shirley Freeman in En Gedi, Israel



Listen to Joel Freeman talk about taking
his children anywhere in the world.


" Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you
didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
 Explore. Dream."  -- Mark Twain. American humorist, writer and lecturer, 1835-1910

Dad and David
April 1994 -- Israel and UK 

Dad and Jacob
June 2000 -- Egypt, Italy, France, Monaco and The Vatican

Dad and Jesse
September 2001 -- Hawaii and Australia

Anywhere in the World with Mom!
Mom and Shari
April 2002 -- Barbados

Dad (Joel) and Mom (Shirley)
probably Ireland and UK -- ?

Hey, Wanna See a Picture of My Pride and Joy?

"We must teach our children to dream with their eyes wide open."  
--Harry Edwards

On a Beach in Barbados
L to R: Jacob, Jesse, Shari, Mom (Shirley), Dad (Joel) and David
Just a few minutes before this picture was taken David's horse rolled over in the sand, with
David still on board. He let out a yell and then jumped away from the horse. Does he look jittery?


Badagry, Nigeria -- Slave Trade History
This is a trip Joel Freeman took to Nigeria in December 2001, with plenty of photos.

Dr. Freeman's Black History Collection

Dr. Freeman Diversity Initiatives for Organizations


The Trip of A Lifetime!
A Few of the Many Guidelines and Benefits

  1. Youngster develops an interest in a particular region of the world by reading books and watching videos. This interest can begin as early as 6 or 7 years of age. 
  Benefit: He or she become more literate about the geography of the world, with this interest sponsored by the personal desire to pick the most intriguing spot to visit.

  2. Teenager earns and saves $300.00  toward the trip. A specific part of the trip (e.g. rental of a car, stay at a hotel, etc.) is designated as the part of the trip he or she paid for.
  Benefit: Sweat equity and delayed gratification on the part of the teenager are important character traits. He or she learns the value of dreaming, setting a specific goal and then seeing the fulfillment of that goal. This is a valuable lesson to be taken throughout an entire lifetime.

  3. Through the Internet, Youth Hostels and inexpensive hotels can be located and booked in advance.
  Benefit: Staying at a Youth Hostel brings the real world, with all of its diversity up close and personal. An unspoken lesson of mutual respect and cross-cultural understanding is taught while staying in a room with three bunk beds and sharing that room with travelers from other parts of the world.

  4. Both teenager and adult write a day-to-day journal. 
  Benefit: When traveling on an action-packed trip, it is easy for one day to blur into the next. The trip of a lifetime is over so quickly. A journal permits both the travelers and the loved ones back home to savor each memory.

  5. Make double prints of the photos. Present the teenager with a photo album, reflecting the chronological, day-by-day events of the trip. This should also contain museum tickets, transportation stubs, etc.
  Benefit: This photo album will be cherished and passed down to the next generation(s).

  6. Around 12 years of age introduce the idea of giving a "promise ring" to him or her on the trip. (This concept may sound corny and out-of-date to some readers.) If the teenager decides to accept the idea of sexual purity, the ring may be purchased on the trip. Each of our kids thought about it a lot and decided to accept the ring. It was never forced or presented in a weird sort of way. -- Plus, it's a lot of fun haggling over price of the ring in an Arab marketplace.
  Benefit -- Talk about nightmares for parents with teenagers. Sexually transmitted diseases. AIDS. Kids having kids. In light of all this, sexual temptation is tough stuff. The symbol of this ring can help when the windows inside the car get foggy. This ring can be saved and given to his or her future spouse as a gift of sexual purity -- given at the marriage ceremony. "This ring is given to you, indicating that I have kept myself sexually pure just for you on our wedding night." The deliberate decision over a period of time to receive this ring can be enormous assistance, while core values are being developed.

O V E R A L L    B E N E F I T S

  Before the trip -- There is much discussion and anticipation, reward both the adult and the youngster with  focused communication, enhanced decision-making skills, a deepening trust and mutual respect. The other younger siblings are looking, watching, learning and dreaming at the same time. Because they know that their time is coming also.

  During the trip -- The bonding that takes place is hard to put into words. The reason why I promote the idea of going to another culture is that both adult and teenager are taken out of their particular elements of experience/comfort zones. This provides a wonderful environment for collegiality. Both are at the mercy of things outside of their arenas of expertise. Language, culture, time zone, food, sights, schedule, travel changes, etc. Flexibility, a wacky sense of humor and relationship-building are the keys to a wonderful experience on this trip. This is healthy, especially for the adult, who may be used to calling the shots...Perhaps the adult will listen more (Two ears, one mouth. Is there a parable here?). As Augustine said, "Seek to understand before seeking to be understood."

  After the trip --  Both teenager and adult have been taken out of their individual routines for two weeks. Life happens. The adult may be a workaholic, finding it hard to break away from the job for any meaningful amount of time to focus on the kids. The teenager may be a recluse, listening to CDs, talking on the phone or playing video games in his or her bedroom for hours on end. This trip can help to sufficiently shake up their relationship in many healthy ways. Hopefully this dramatic change of routine for an extended period of time will open the door for deeper communication, especially through the next few years till he or she goes off to college, the military or flipping hamburgers at the Burger Joint down the road.

  Opening the eyes -- We have discovered that we all watch the news differently. Travel has enhanced our discussions about different cultures, world religions and politics. It also has caused the children to dream about and to develop plans for the other places in the world they want to travel.


  Parenting is difficult. It isn't until our sons or daughters reaches 24 or 25 that we finally begin to receive a trickle of appreciation and understanding from them. It was Mark Twain who said something like, "When I came home from college, I was amazed at how much smarter my father had become..."


Map of Mark Twain's travels in the 1860s,
chronicled in his book, Innocents Abroad.

2012 Israel trip group in Masada, Israel -- Herod's ancient fortification near the Dead Sea
Joel and Shirley are in the photo. Can you find them?


Courtesy of The Freeman Institute

"Dealing  With  People  Who  Drive  You  Crazy!"®
The Freeman Institute™ Box 305, Gambrills, MD 21054
TEL 410-729-4011       FAX 410-729-0353



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