Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Today's Chaperone: Chopped Liver

At the end of the school year (no, I haven't really substantively posted since then), I chaperoned my fourth-grader's field trip.  We went to Camp Guyasuta, a boy scout camp improbably close to the city.

I've been privileged to chaperone several field trips over my boys' school years.  Some in the group I chaperoned last month, I've known since kindergarten.  It struck me, though, how different it feels to chaperone fourth graders than kindergarteners.  On my first field trip's those kindergarteners were so interested in me and hung off me and asked me all kinds of questions.  When I took a picture of my son, they all wanted me to take a picture of them.  On this fourth grade trip, I was invisible.  They behaved pretty well, and they listened when I tried to help the trip leaders enforce rules, but they had no interest in me or even in knowing whose dad I was.

Of course, the rock star treatment is fun, but that's not why I chaperone field trips.  As long as I keep them safe and take some burden off the teachers, I don't need the kids to clamor around me.  It did show me how my son and his classmates have developed into a different stage of life.  As much as I hate to say it, the "tween years" start at nine.  Between the affinity toward adults of the young years and the hostility of the early teen years comes the distinct indifference of the current stage.  

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