Monday, February 15, 2010

I Chaperoned A Field Trip

Growing up, my folks weren't often, if ever, able chaperon my class field trips. So, whenever my daughter has a field trip planned for school, I make a point of trying to put aside the time so that I can go along. On Friday, she and her class took a trip to a Lincoln historical site where Lincoln's early life is re-enacted by the employees. Along with an information center, a working 19th Century era farm is on the grounds. The kids were excited to walk around the farm and look at the animals. One employee brought out a chicken for the kids to pet. Personally, I had never been up close to a chicken that wasn't being served on a plate, so I was interested in petting the hen myself. But, the employee passed me by.

"Hey! Don't bogart the chicken, 19th century dude!", I said with tongue placed firmly in cheek. It was then that the unexpected happened. The old-timey guy handed me the chicken to hold. I knew right away that this would be awesome. I exclaimed to all of the kids that this was the most awesome experience ever and invited them to gather around to meet "Camilla".

I was immediately mobbed by first graders, each anxious to see what all the fuss was about. I excitedly talked to the group. "Aren't her feathers soft?", I asked. "Look how red her caruncle is. The caruncle is the little comb on top of her head. Can you all say caruncle?" I was smiling and laughing the whole time.

My daughter seemed to take pride in watching her father go from quiet observer to center of attention. Her teacher whispered something into her ear and my daughter nodded emphatically. I asked the class to say goodbye to Camilla, to which they all said "Bye, Camilla" in unison while I pitched the hen back over the fence.

Lining back up with my daughter, I asked her what her teacher had said to her.

"She said that you are like a big kid".

I couldn't agree more.

If we can learn just one thing from our children, it's that we should not only be open to learning new things, but we must also relish the opportunity to be excited about learning. In the grand scheme of things, holding a chicken might not be much of a learning experience for a guy like me. But, it was new and simple and exciting. You don't often get that out of a classroom.


  1. What a good story! I remember going out there as a 6th grader and dressing in their garb and making candles and something with apples and getting stuck in their port-a-potty things.

  2. i tried to make it to some of Liam's fieldtrips. it's just something to share with your child and have memories of with them. the best was my trip to DC with Liam's class last spring. neither of us had ever been there, and it was only one short day. i can't wait to make it back out there and see everything i didn't get to see that day.

  3. I haven't been to DC since an 8th Grade field trip. I think we spent a week out there. I'd like to go back sometime.