My neighbor's son just got back from a school trip to Washington, D.C. When my oldest daughter was given this opportunity, the attack on the World Trade Center had just happened, and we were a little nervous about safety, so didn't let her go. Actually, the main reason we didn't let her go was financial, but security issues sealed the deal. Then when it was my son's turn, not only was it difficult financially, but we sort of felt it wasn't fair to let one go, and not another. I have to say that if the school had ANY kind of fund raising events, we might have considered letting him go, but they didn't. Repeat this story for child number three. Maybe some day we can go as a family, or they can go as adults.
I, myself was about 16 when I went for the first time. We were living in Kentucky and the Washington D.C. temple was the closest temple, so a youth group went to do baptisms for the dead. My sister in law was my good friend back then, so she and I were sightseeing buddies during that trip. The adults just let all the kids loose to do whatever they wanted, and told us to meet back at 5:00. I still shudder when I think about them letting teenagers loose in that city. So the two of us spent most of our time in the Smithsonian. We had a great time!
But I digress. My neighbor's son went on the D.C. trip for a week. What did he remember most about the trip? Well, what he reported back was things like "jumping on the bed", and other similar activities. Clearly the history lessons were of least importance. That reminds me of when our children were small, and we were living in China, and went to Hong Kong on R. & R. We took them to see the sights, and we ate good food. What was their favorite part of the trip? Playing at the playground.
My other neighbor is a teacher, and just got back from a trip to Europe with a group of students. I happened today to see some photos on facebook that one of the students posted from their trip. Most of the pictures were titled things like, "Some dead dude's house", or "Some old building". She had posted a picture of the Mona Lisa with the caption, "Mona Lisa. Definitely not that cool."
I guess my point in this blog is that I don't think it was so horrible to not send my kids to D.C. or Europe with the school trips. First of all, they are in their own little world at that age and are more concerned with the social aspect of being with their friends on the trip, than on the education involved. I have to wonder if being with a parent would change that at all. I guess some travel is better than none, but unless it is coupled with a good education, and maturity, the money is better spent when they are older.