This is going to come out sounding very cranky but if you are a third-grader selling something to fund a class trip, please do not knock on my door. I would never take my crankiness out on someone who just hit the decade-old mark. Kids have enough problems staring them in the face; they don’t need me unloading on them. No, my wrath will be reserved for whatever adult decided it would be a great idea for forty ten-year-olds to go to, oh I don’t know, China.
(Wait for it…wait for it) When I was in school, we did not go on class trips until we were seniors. At that point, we hitched a team of oxen to Conestoga wagons and made the trek to our glorious state capitol. Deducting travel time and lunch, we ended up spending about four hours beholding the wonders of the workings of government. Four hours sounds about right to grasp the notion that the visible part of government consists of a lot of white men and a sprinkling of women and an even smaller sprinkling of minorities sitting around a room listening to others in the same demographic droning on and on about a topic for which they care very little. The pay-off is that when the previously-bored people start droning on about their pet project and thus become the boring people, they hope their peers will be courteous enough to at least remain upright at their desks. This includes only those actually at their desks.
From what we high school seniors observed back there in the olden days, some of the legislators in attendance appeared to be asleep or totally disinterested or possibly embalmed. Many—many —others of this august body weren’t even present. They were probably out doing charitable works or cutting ribbons or trying to get re-elected. That part about the pay-off wasn’t literal, of course. Nothing so base as petty corruption could ever alight in the sacred halls of the legislature.
But now kids are going on these elaborate class trips all over the place. And they start very young. Grade school age children are off to Washington, D.C. for a week which is just about the maximum amount of time anyone should remain in the capitol. After that, the trips begin to take on an international flavor.
I get out of the old folks’ home enough to hear the arguments for these trips. We want to expose our children to other cultures, to other ways of life, to other forms of government. This openness will foster understanding and good will between nations. This just might work if the nations of the world were run by high school sophomores. Another thing that would help would be the participation of theocracies, the citizens of which are apparently required to refer to us lovely Americans as blue-eyed devils. Even those of us that don’t technically, you know, have blue eyes. Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but tolerance by us lovely Americans in lovely America is not exactly on an up-swing here. Furthermore, it occurs to me that the kind of parents who encourage their kids to seek knowledge about the great big world outside of west central Ohio might be the same sort of parents who are already teaching their kids about tolerance.
So, to recap: (1) No solicitations. (2) Some old people are cranky. (3) Save something exciting to do for when you are at an advanced age, like twenty. (4) Be tolerant (5) If you absolutely have to be a blue-eyed devil, be a lovely blue-eyed devil (6) Re-read this and see if it sounds like sour grapes to you, too.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.