I have lived in St. Petersburg for 11 years and have visited Sarasota and the surrounding areas countless times, but somehow, I have never been to this museum. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the modern day circus because of the animals in captivity, so I was not sure I would enjoy this field trip, but as a work-outside-the-home mom I was happy to spend a day with my children and their classmates, regardless. Here’s what I learned about my children and myself on this field trip.
Vitamin D is vital for perspective (not just for bones). What a wonderful surprise The Ringling was. The waterfront grounds were meticulously kept with dinosaur-sized banyan trees and rose gardens to make Alice’s Queen of Hearts jealous. Spending a day out of the office to watch the children run through the trees in the sunlight-dappled St. Augustine grass and literally stop to smell the roses was divine. Sometimes the daily grind of being a working parent (and if you’re a parent, you’re working!) can be a little grim. But one beautiful day in the sun with laughing children puts life in perspective and reminds us why we do all that we do in that grind. It’s all for the children.
Field trips are a good opportunity to meet and socialize with other parents. In every school there are those blessed and wonderful parents who are always on campus helping in a classroom, volunteering in some capacity or chaperoning an event. Everyone knows (and appreciates!) those parents. Attending a field trip with your child, however, ups the ante that you will meet some new parents and get to know current parent acquaintances a little better. Who knows? You might find common interests that lead to a grown up “play date”.
Sneak peek: See exactly how your child interacts with peers, teachers and other parents. At some point, every parent has lived this scenario: A teacher, coach, or friend tells you, “Your son/daughter is so polite and respectful, and has so much to say about _______!” at which point you smile, cock your head to the side and nod, but silently think, “Are they talking about MY child? Really??” Attending a field trip with your child is a great opportunity to see if all the life lessons and manners you have been drilling into your kiddo have sunk in.
As the kids walk from place to place, hang back a bit from their direct sight line and see if s/he holds the door open for others. Listen to how they talk with their friends (and what they’re talking about). Watch them pick up a dollar bill they found on the ground and hand it to a museum attendant. Then take a sigh of relief, because you have done a good job raising your kid, and even if they don’t always use them at home, they DO remember all the lessons you’ve taught them, and they use them when it counts.