Daily Archives: October 16, 2006

Travel with Students

I’m lucky.
Seriously lucky.
This weekend I’ve traveled around Texas with a group of teenage students and had a wonderful time. A few years ago a parent asked me if I just stayed up all night with the kids to keep them from getting in trouble. I laughed.
I’ve been to conferences where those chaperones exist. But that’s not the way I do business.
I believe in a thing called personal responsibility.
I set an expectation. The kids live up to that expectation or the pay the consequences if they get caught.
That IF word gets in the way sometimes. And as a parent, I totally understand that.
But here’s the reality. Kids need to learn how to make choices. My students know the consequence for deletrious activity on a road trip. If they make a bad choice, living with the consequence for that choice is a good life lesson.
A few years ago on a UIL trip, a group of our students had a little party.
They got caught.
They got sent home.
They suffered the district consequences, plus they were removed from the team for a season.
All but one student learned a major life lesson. All but one joined us the next year and BOY are they great role models now. They have no problem talking about how stupid they were to destroy what could have been an awesome year for one night and a bottle of tequila.
But one girl didn’t learn.
See her parents stepped in and BLAMED the sponsors. They didn’t understand how such a party could’ve taken place. Didn’t we check bags? Didn’t we stay outside the hotel doors?
The parents never got it. They never got that their child was drinking on a school trip AND at home. That she was making choices that were going nowhere good. I don’t know what happened to that girl. She dropped the team and she wasn’t in my event anyway. The girl still paid consequences because drinking on a school trip isn’t just “going away.”
As a parent of a teen, I find myself facing this kind of thing more and more often. It’s so hard to let your kid make their own choices! So hard to sit back and watch and not just lock them away in a room somewhere and pray for the best. But you know what? Life’s choices are here to stay. How much better she learn to navigate them at 16 with me standing by to step in if necessary than in two years at college surrounded by other 18-yr-olds. I’m going to keep syaing that to myself. And hop[efully soon, I’ll believe it.