Why can’t kids act like adults when traveling?

I like children.  If raised correctly, they can be downright adorable.  But man, you get a hundred of them together on an out-of-state field trip, one involving a hotel with a pool and phones that can call other rooms for free, and I don’t care how well behaved those kids usually are, they are gonna flip.  I know they will, because I flipped when I was a kid.  For a child of 7-14, going on an extended field trip that crosses state lines is just about as good as it can get.  It’s like the most awesome sleepaway camp ever, which is the only experience that could even come close to a multi-day field trip’s level of awesomeness.  Both symbolize freedom, something kids rarely get to have.  You’re away from your parents, away from your hometown, and adults are actually treating you like an adult.  But a trip is even better than camp, because instead of having to make new friends with people you’ll never see after that summer, you get to hang out with your best friends from school.  And you’re in a really cool city with tons of fun stuff to do.  Oh, and did I mention you’re staying in a hotel with a pool?

So when I was in Washington D.C, I understood why the kids in matching baseball hats were excited.  But that didn’t change the fact I was annoyed to see them.  Let me tell you something, reading the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives loses some of its majesty when teenage girls are loudly whispering behind you about how cute Brett is.  The somberness of looking at the Vietnam Wall vanishes when a middle schooler impresses his friends by sliding down the walkway ramp post-rain storm.  And in D.C., these roaming gangs of children are everywhere.  The National Mall is full of them, invading every Smithsonian museum possible, even the lame ones you visit in hopes of escaping the crowds.

I’ve wrangled some kids in my day.  It’s not fun.  I worked as a camp counselor and was assigned a group of ten kindergarteners to supervise on our camp’s field trip to Navy Pier in Chicago.  My legs were twice as long as theirs, and yet they still managed to escape me constantly.  By the end of the day, I had seen all of Navy Pier, but mostly as a blur while I ran to grab kids before they fell in Lake Michigan.

Funny enough, my Fifth Grade Trip was to Navy Pier, where my twelve-year-old self kept telling our group leader to stop so I could take pictures with my first ever girlfriend.  I guess karma takes a while to catch up with you.

Aug 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

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