Wouldn’t it be fun to be a kid again for a day? Think of how many options you would have when deciding how to spend your afternoon. Your choice would likely be tied to either an amazing personal experience you would like to have again or something you saw other kids do that you always wanted to do yourself. Answers to this question vary significantly among adults because children are not born into the same opportunities.
One thing I admire about our public school system (and many others throughout the nation) is that they are making strides to ensure that children have equal opportunities when they are at school by providing free breakfast for all students, free or subsidized lunch for those in need, a standard uniform program and communal school supplies. There are still areas that can improve, especially in regards to extracurricular programs and individualized transportation, but we have come so far!
A couple of years ago, I chaperoned my son’s 3rd grade field trip to LEGOLAND, which was enthusiastically discussed throughout the whole year leading up to it. He almost didn’t make it since he made a very noteworthy attempt to rip a tooth out of his mouth that was deeply rooted into position, resulting in an infection. I told him that we wouldn’t be able to go to the field trip because he was in a lot of pain. As the concerned parent, I wanted to get it extracted as soon as the office opened. The negotiations began. “Can’t you just give me a bunch of medicine and I won’t even complain once,” he begged. This field trip meant the world to him. Lucky for him, the field trip gods were on his side because the dentist could not see him until the afternoon. Off to LEGOLAND we went and he made good on his promises. The fun of the day erased the pain until we made our way to the extraction chair.
I was pleased to meet the kids in his class about whom he had spoken all year. Two of the boys I was looking forward to meeting were not on the field trip. When I inquired, the kids told me that their parents couldn’t afford to send them to LEGOLAND for the day. I was crushed. I wish I had known because the other parents in the class could have pulled together the funds to send them. Wouldn’t it be great if EVERY child could go with their classmates on their annual field trip? Every child should.
This year, I reached out to my son’s teacher to make sure that all of his classmates could attend Universal Studios and discovered that one student did not have the financial means to go. The teacher had already reached out to the school’s bookkeeper to see if any funding would be available to pay for this child’s ticket and the school found the funds to send him. I commend the teacher for jenerously taking the extra time out of her incredibly busy day to look out for the needs of that one student. That is what makes exceptional teachers exceptional. My hope is that this boy will look back on his childhood and remember that AWESOME day at the theme park when he got to ride rollercoasters and explore, just like all of the other kids. I am sending a check to the school to cover his cost and the teacher let the bookkeeper know that the funds she identified can be used to send another child on a class trip.
Experiences are what make memories and those memories help define how we ultimately reflect upon our childhood. As adults, we have the opportunity to positively impact the experiences for our children, with our children being our community of children. Let’s communicate with our schools to look out not only for our own, but for other children as well.
Wouldn't it be fun to be a kid again for a day? Think of how many options you would have when deciding how to spend you...