Tuesday, June 24, 2008

You're only young once but you can always be immature.

Our book club read a book this year about how to write (Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott). She instructs the reader on various writing techniques and pit falls. She also teaches a class on writing and one of the "getting started" exercises she gives the class is to write about their childhood. Pick something. Anything childhood-related. And just write. There are an overwhelming amount of avenues one can take when writing on "childhood." Whether it be emotional, physical, pyschological. I am going to write on mechanical. More specifically, transportational (I just made that up).

When I was a yute growing up in Richmond, Virginia, I attended W.W. Gordon Elementary School. One of the children's favorite days of the year (second maybe only to Field Day) was Transportation Day. In my adult life, I have referenced Transporation Day in conversations with friends. Usually a conversation that goes something like... "Yes! I HAVE been inside the cab of an 18-wheeler! [Where!?] On Transportation Day! Haven't you?" This usually receives blank stares and comments of "What in hades are you talking about?" Apparently Gordon Elementary was the only school in the universe to have Transportation Day.

What IS Transportation Day? I shall explain. On Transportation Day, the school arranged for various modes of transportation to come to the school. They filled the bus-loop, neighboring parking lots, and yes, the helicopter was on the makeshift heli-pad a/k/a the baseball field. On this special day, each class got a tour of all of the vehicles. They included, but were not limited to RVs, tractor-trailers (just the cab), fire engines, police cars, collector's cars like a Model T, ambulances, limousines, and of course, the helicopter. The owner/operator of the respective vehicles would teach the kids about how they worked and anything cool a 10 year old could think to ask. It was a dream! It was a beautiful combination of education and fun.

Though you may not have had Transportation Day, I'm sure you can remember the various out-of-the-norm activities of your grade school days. Assemblies, awards day, field trips, field day, transportation day (for me), plays, pep rallies, etc. Having that upcoming special day provided so much excitement in the mind of a kid. For me, I know that that excitement is not unique to my childhood.

About a month ago I went on my yearly vacation to the beach. The week prior to my vacation, my attorney and I were going through some preparation for a hearing he would attend while I was gone. There was a new court required document we needed to draft and since we've never done it before he asked that I create a draft from scratch and see how it goes (side note: in the legal world, people use form documents as much as possible, so writing from "scratch" can be somewhat shocking). My response to him was, "Sure, but you do realize that I am leaving on vacation for 10 days. My ability to do anything worth while is completely shot due to my severe case of vacationist."

I have often thought that our society is too quick to rid ourselves of seemingly "childish" activities as we get older. If you look around at all of the humans you interact with on a daily basis, is it quite obvious that children have the best deal going on. Aside from the perks of not having to pay bills or work full time, kids get to sleep more, eat more and not pay for the consequences; their food, clothes, and admission prices are significantly cheaper and things like mismatched clothes and falling asleep in public are much more socially acceptable. The time and effort spent on education and nuturing are exponentially higher prior to the age of 10 than almost any other time in our lives. (There is no statistical backing to any of these statements. These are just Kelley-isms on life.) Whoever decided that adults no longer needed stimulating educational experiences like field trips? I'm sorry but conferences full of power point presentations and free pens and key chains do not count as field trips. Therefore, I vote for the reinstitution of field trips. And while we're at it, throw in nap time... and maybe some raisins and juice boxes in the break room.


  1. Kelley, the grass is always greener on the other side.:) I think you’ll find that children don’t WANT to take naps, and they don’t WANT to eat their food and they WANT more responsibility and independence, but don’t get it. What we need to do as adults is to allow time for work, play, spiritual growth and development, etc. but to be responsible about it. The trick is to have a good balance with everything in life, to use your free agency wisely so as to have the most satisfactory and fulfilling and happy life now and in the eternities that follow.

  2. I totally vote for field trips.
    Wanna take one with me next week??


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