Monday, February 25, 2008

Motherhood's Tough Calls

TravelWhen I was sixteen I came home from school so excited Mom had to peel me off the ceiling. My French teacher had announced that our class was organizing a trip to France for the summer. Forty-five days cruising the Mediterranean starting in Marseilles and stopping in various exotic ports along the way.

Oh how I wanted to go--I don't think I'd ever wanted anything so badly in my life to that point. At least that's how I remember it. Anyway, as soon the details were out of my mouth Mom was forming her answer. No--which probably isn't a surprise to anyone reading this but it was a surprise to me. But WHY?

It wasn't just the money, it wasn't just the time it would take me away from earning money for school that summer, it was also the issues of letting a sixteen year-old girl loose on Europe for a month and a half and I cried bitterly, knowing that I'd never get another chance to see the world for the rest of my life. Never. That was it. Life over.

All these memories came to mind as I picked up the kids at school last week and Grace ran up to the car waving a piece of paper.

"Mom! Guess what? Guess what? I'm going to Germany!" She had trouble talking and breathing at the same time but I didn't really need words to understand. Suddenly I was my Mom hearing about her daughter's Mediterranean dreams and mentally listing all the rational reasons why it wasn't going to happen.

Normally I'm an efficient person but not this time. I listened to her stutter with excitement all the way home: "Only three thousand dollars . . . thirty days . . . lots of chaperons . . . great for German skills . . . staying in a castle . . . " and I didn't say anything. I figured there'd be time enough for reality in a day or two after the adrenaline had dissipated.

At dinner she told Andrew all about her plans as he threw me a puzzled look that said, "Why does our daughter think she's going to Germany?" But later that night when she was quiet we talked about it, laying it out as kindly and lovingly as we could, and she cried and I remembered how it felt.

It's not as if I'm worried that we didn't make the right decision, this isn't the time for her to be having those kinds of experiences--there's a time for everything and it will mean more when she's older and has earned the privilege of going herself. Just because something is beneficial doesn't mean it's appropriate, too many children are handed these kinds of things in the name of education and life experience when it really teaches them a false view of life. Reality is that people don't just hand you things like trips to Europe just because you really really want them. Sometimes you have to wait--and work--for things you want and though the trip would be a good thing learning this important lesson is better.

But that didn't make it easier to watch her cry the same tears I did 23 years ago and I ached for her just as I'm sure my Mom did when it was my teenage heart breaking.

Thanks Mom for teaching me how to say "No" when it's not the easy thing to say but when it's the right thing to say.

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73 comments:

Kacie said...

Wow--that definitely has to be devastating for a teen.

I'm sure many parents who have children in your daughter's class are having similar discussions with your kids right about now.

I have never gone abroad, but would like to someday.

I'm wondering: Did you ever end up going to France?

Robin said...

45 or even 30 days? Yikes that's a long trip.

My perspective is a bit different from yours though. When I was in high school it was a trip to France as well. 3 weeks as an exchange student. I desperately wanted to go but we couldn't afford it. My teacher really wanted me to go, and when I told him the reason for my refusal he went out and got me accepted for a 50% scholarship, and I worked my rear off to cover the other half, with some help from my parents (I think I covered half of the remainder and they paid for the other half). I went on the trip, and it was an incredible experience, one I'll remember forever.

If your objection is a philosophical one that's a different story, but if it's financial there may be a solution out there if you look hard enough.

Makita said...

I've been in the 'teens' shoes and eventually got the opportunity to go to Mexico when I was in college (just a few years later).

I hope I won't be in the 'parents' shoes - though I doubt it, she already desperately wants to go to China and she is only 5!!

Anonymous said...

amen.

Same experience as a teen. The teacher actually recommended we 'beg' grandparents/aunts/uncles to give money to us for the trip! The answer at home was no. Later I went as an adult with my own with my own money. Several times I've gone since.

grace said...

That's really one tough call. My father did not agree to let me go enjoy a scholarship far away from home when I was 16.He thought young girls and big cities don't go well. I cried buckets of tears for more than a week. But as a parent now, I think I finally understood his stance.

3 years later, I got another scholarship, in Japan and he finally let me go.

I hope you and your daughter agree amicably. I am sure though that she may cry now but later understand how you feel when she becomes a mom in the future.

SudsMuffin said...

I was always one of those kids whose parents always let them go on those kinds of trips. Before graduating from high school, I had gone to Quebec City, across Canada twice, to Mexico for 6 weeks and to Venezuela. I also traveled for sports and represented my school leadership multiple times (though I was never elected by the student body) because the student union kids were not allowed to travel. For me, these were all great experiences and I learned a lot from them. Now that I am an adult, I am so glad I was able to travel like that in my youth because life circumstances today just don't allow me too. I hope your daughter gets over her heartache eventually.

luvmy4sons said...

Precious story. Way to go mom. I know it had to be hard. I often tell my children I have to make decisions that they will thank me for when they are 30. I also tell them that we have to decide sometimes between what is good and what is best. There are a lot of good things out there but God wants us to choose the best!

Shelli said...

Great story. I traveled to London after college on a work abroad program for six months. I didn't tell my mom I had applied because I knew she would have said no, even at that age! She warmed up to it though. Later I spent a year in Japan as an English teacher. Incredible experiences. I used to work in a study abroad office too. You can tell your daughter that there are hundreds of options available to her when she gets into college and right after. She might find even more exotic and interesting places to go. She might be able to make money while she's there!

Amy said...

I can relate to that as I had something like that happen when I was younger. What I appreciate is that you didn't just cut her off and said, "NO!" You did it in a loving way- you are an awesome mom!

Edi said...

I am surprised that the school would want to take young teenagers on such a lengthy trip to Europe!

My dh went on a school trip to Europe and it was for about 2 weeks but he was in college and about 22 yrs old!

Surely 16 is the least ideal age for such an adventure w/out your own parents around - b/c 16 yr olds think they know everything and don't have the best self control etc.

You made the right choice.

There are things that are good - but all things at the right age.

Roses Are Red, Violets are Violet said...

good call, Mom. :-)

I know that not all youth trips will turn out this way, but the whole Natalee Holloway scenario is one thing that scares me about young kids going out together when on trips away from home.

16 years old...wanting to have fun, be liked, etc... All of these things can cloud the judgement of kids that age. Not ALL kids...but it can happen.

I agree with your decision.

Beth said...

Sounds like a great trip but I agree that you made the right call. I think eventually your daughter may agree too. It may not be until she has children but I think she will agree.

Babystepper said...

I remember having the exact same type of discussion with my mom, and the exact same answer.

I dread the day I'll have to give it to my own children.

Christie O. said...

wow, what a powerful post. and a difficult thing to have had to do! i am not looking forward to it myself.

my parents would have told me the same thing had i had the opportunity in high school. i did, eventually get to travel in college, which was great for me and i got a lot more out of it than i would have as a high schooler. plus, i had to pay for it myself.

Heather said...

I too remember that feeling. I'm certain I'll have to say the same thing to my daughter.

breckster said...

I was in the the small auditioned choir in highschool. So when I wasn't allowed to go on the trip that meant disappointing myself and my choir. My mother let me blame it on her, and oh did I!

Things have a way of balancing out... I didn't get to go to NYC when I was 17, and now I have to live here.

Little did I know that I wasn't the NYC loving person.

Patty W said...

It is so hard being a parent. Rewarding as all get-out but hard.

Thanks for sharing , it helps me know that sometimes I do make the right decisions :)

Karen said...

We've already encountered something similar in our house, and of course, I had the same answer.

Though it would undoubtedly be an amazing experience for these kids, I think kids, overall, are simply not emotionally mature enough to handle something this big, and without constant supervision, on their own.

I have to agree 100% with your reasons and I think it was great that you waited for your daughter's enthusiasm to die down before explaining it. Good mommy call. *grin*

Write From Karen

Maryann said...

You know, my husband joined his class on an amazing tour of the Mediterranean when he was young and he doesn't remember half of it! He was too young to truly appreciate what he was seeing.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

*HUG*

I have similar memories to yours from my adolescence - there were MANY nos that seemed unfair or just DUMB to me, but of course at 16 or 17 I only knew half, or less than half, of the story. It's never been easy for me to admit my Mom was RIGHT, darn it, she was. And my first trip to Europe didn't happen until I was nearly 30, when I did it totally on my own, but I will say that it is a defining memory and one that makes me THANK my Mom for making me WAIT until I had the maturity to handle it safely and wisely and appreciate it fully.

I know it was hard on you - it must've been hard on my Mom, too - but your reasoning is sound and I bet Grace will one day thank you and acknowledge that, too.

And now I have to go write my Mom an email. A humble, gracious email.

Bahamas Mama said...

Your post was like a gift to me this morning. I didn't sleep last night because of this exact issue. In fact I said to my husband this morning (before reading your post)- sometimes it is just as difficult to teach a lesson as it is to learn one. My DD is only 9 years old but she goes to private school - she came home thrilled about her 3 day trip to a neighbouring island that only cost $1,000. It isn't the money - it's exactly what you said. She needs to learn that things are not just handed to you or she will enter life with a serious disadvantage. I cried my eyes out when I read your post. Thank you for your words!

Emanuele said...

Thanks Michelle for your witness. Also my mother made it for different thing than a travel but just important like it.I agrre completely with you. Maybe it need to wit for a right time to choose. I'm sympathetic with Grace'cries but life is over and surely it will come on a right time.
I believe saying "NO" is very good for our growing up and learning to love. Thanks for your sharing. Emanuele from Alba near Turin (Italy)

Maddy said...

Well of course the exchange rate is bliss at the moment compared to 23 years ago, but that said a few grand is not something that just falls from the sky. [mores the pity]
Best wishes

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh, I know just how that is- I wanted to go with my French class, too, but instead when I got a good job and could afford it a couple years after high school, I spent 10 days touring Northern France and Paris. It was SO worth it. Then when I got married we honeymooned in Paris. WAY better than with a school group! Tell her it will be so much better when she's older!
: )

Steph

Crazy Daisy said...

I can see your point, however when I was 16 I was able to go on a Europe trip, sponsored by a local college. However, it was not handed to me. I had to work for it, and pay my parents back for what I couldn't pay for myself, but it was worth it! I think it really depends on the family situation, however educational time spent in a different place is time well spent.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

These moments always make me think of Pride and Prejudice and the younger daughter "going out" at a much too young age and all the trouble that ensued. I was told "No" and cried. I was also not told "No" and regretted it years later. But it is hard when it is your turn to say it and to be the cause of the misery, to be the one who "doesn't understand." It is my turn now and I don't relish the role. Good for you for doing the right thing. I hope your daughter will understand sooner than later.

Irene said...

Yeah, that is tough, but you are teaching a wonderful life lesson. Unfortunately, I think too many little ones nowadays do not get this lesson. I always get amazed (and sad) at how much little kids are handed and how they are never taught that they can't always get what they want.

I never had that opportunity as a kid, but I don't even think I would have bothered asking. I know the answer would have been a big fat N-O.

imadramamama said...

That's amazing that the school even offers that opportunity, but I can see where you are coming from. It's important for them to understand that they don't get things "just because" and 30 days is a LONG time to be away...

chelle said...

Waiting and working ... two very difficult things in life. I too would not be sending my child at 16 without one of us parents ... hmmm 30 days in Germany in a castle ....

An Ordinary Mom said...

Her little heart must be pretty devastated right now, but I agree with you wholeheartedly. She will bounce back soon!

Yes, my name is Arizona said...

I went to Europe at the age of 16 with a school group and it was such a wonderful experience. It really shows you that the world is a small place and that we should focus on being world citizens. I was a pretty responsible kid; I didn't go to pubs or look for boys because I really wanted to see and learn about Europe. I walked around many European cities that summer and learned a lot about our differences and our similarities. We still go to Europe and if my kids want to go when they are 16 I will probably let them go so long as I can be one of the chaperones!! Sometimes I wonder how my parents could have let me go because I would worry about my kids if they were there without me even if they were the most responsible kids on earth.

Pieces said...

This is a beautiful post. It takes a lot of courage to swim against the stream, even as an adult. You also just taught your daughter something about being a parent and making difficult decisions.

allysha said...

That is a good parenting story. And I agree with your decision and with the heartbreak.
When I was just married Ben & I talked about going over to France to visit a friend, but we couldn't really afford it. He said I could go alone, if I liked. Later that night he came in and found me emailing my friend, tears streaming down my face, because I knew it wouldn't work out. I was so disappointed.

We got to go a few year later, and it was perfect. If she wants to go bad enough, she'll make it there, for sure.

Michemily said...

I'm not sure why you're not letting her go. I do know that I wanted to do something like that and wasn't able to financially, and now my parents can hardly get me to fly home anymore.

Cocoa said...

It what we call "tough love" for a number of reasons - tough on the kids, tough on the parents, but oh so needed. Good job!

Sarah said...

Bravo to you for sticking to your convictions. We all make the best decisions we can for our children as we have been given the authority and responsibility for them.

I don't think there's a "right answer" for everyone who finds themselves in this situation, but there's definitely a right answer for your family, and you are the one who makes the call. Your daughter is blessed to have a mama who doesn't make decisions like these without considering what's best for her. :)

Janet said...

Grace isn't that old is she? Maybe I'm thinking of one of the others. It astonishes me how schools come up with these ideas thinking that all the parents are made up of money and no sense. There are other options for seeing castles and learning other languages that are great fun, but don't cost so much time and money (geez, from Alaska you'd spend a week in travel time alone). Of course, we never had the opportunity but I know we would not have had the money either. Our choir trip from Nashville to Bob Jones University was one of the worst experiences of my life. Some of us didn't do well as teenagers. Europe might have been a better location, but the company would have been the same.

Beck said...

Parenting means making hard choices.
Someone I know went to Europe in her mid-teens and floated around in this happy, blessed daze until the awful day when she was gang-raped by 7 men on a train. I just would not let my teenaged child go off without my supervision - as much as I want my children to have adventures, the world isn't always a safe place for a young girl to go off exploring on her own.

Scribbit said...

I was surprised that the school planned such a trip with such young children but apparently they're pretty confident in their chaperoning ability.

It would have been much easier to say no to her if she weren't a good kid--she's pretty much raised herself she's so easy going and obedient--and when you have a child who does everything you ask you want to reward them with something like this. If she'd thrown a temper tantrum and screamed about it I wouldn't have had any trouble saying NO!

I also have a problem with the abundance of trips the school kids get here, it seems everyone has wrestling, band and football trips all over the place and the way they "pay for it themselves" is to go door to door and sell useless things or asking for donations. Seems to be a glorified form of panhandling to me--wouldn't it be nice to be able to go to your neighbors and ask for money to finance YOUR Hawaiian vacation? Especially since they'll go to these places, play one concert or something then spend four or five days playing around. I just have a hard time seeing that children "need" that--sure it's fun, sure it's somewhat educational but it's such a luxury that it seems extravagant to allow such a thing and ridiculous to take up collections for it.

But that's just an opinion--for what it's worth :)

Marie N. said...

I liked you before I read this post. Now I really like you! I especially appreciate what you said about the difference between things being beneficial and appropriate.

Stephanie said...

I did go to France between my junior and senior year. I stayed with a family though, and their daughter had stayed with us the summer before.

I earned most of the airfare myself. I treasure that experience as travel overseas has not been in the finances as an adult.

A little different situation from yours, and honestly I'm not sure what my reaction would be if one of my children wanted to go.

Luckily they are still young enough that I have some time to think it through.

Jamie J said...

I remember when we had the opportunity to go to D.C in High School and I SOOO wanted to go. But you're right, just because it's beneficial doesn't mean it's appropriate. Kudos for doing the right thing.

Tori said...

Wow, I'm sure that was hard but a right decision. I think many times it's what we don't let them do that molds them instead of what we allow them to do.

Great post!!!

Loralee Choate said...

Watching disallusionment sucks as a parent, but I totally agree with you.

I worked and saved and at 33 I finally got my life dream to go to the UK and it was SO MUCH BETTER because I earned it, dreamed about it for years and pretty much planned it in my head from the age of 6 on.

Not that I wouldn't have has a great time as a teenager, I would. It's just that it was seriously about the most special and proud moment of my life because I did it on my own.

Summer said...

I must respectfully disagree with you on this one.

My parents allowed me to live in Germany as an exchange student for one month when I was 14.

I neither assumed that people would always hand me things when I wanted them or undervalued the experience just because they provided it.

Certainly those concerns are valid, if you haven't already been teaching your children the importance of hard work and appreciation.

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I am so thankful they gave me that opportunity. If I can afford it when the opportunity comes to my kids, I won't hesitate to give it to them.

Sherra said...

Had to de-lurk on this one as a fellow mom of four…

Parenting with common sense and your instincts is a skill that takes courage and stamina. I say "Amen!" to your decision.

Educational opportunities come in all forms. It's not always about money or time. Sometimes it's just about going with our gut and knowing what is right for our family.

While we all might second-guess our own decisions as we try to do the best we can, we all need to respect our differences and support each other.

This parenting gig is the hardest job on the planet, without a doubt!

Carey said...

I would be worried, but I would let my daughter go. In the last 8 years and the next 8 to go, I would hope that I've taught her enough to make it a safe trip.

Now if she can't behave herself at home, the answer would be a firm "NO".

Lisa said...

I can completely understand what you are saying.

I never had the opportunity to go abroad until I was in my mid 20's. I don't know if I could have appreciated the experience in my younger years. Besides, chaperone or not, that's a long ways away and quite a bit of time for a child to be so far from home.

Teachin' this mommy new tricks! said...

Wow I can't believe a school is offering that to Jr High kids. Sorry Gracie :(

Laura said...

Ack! I'm not having children! (never mind that I'm pregnant with my 3rd)

As hard as it was for all of you, good job!

ewe are here said...

Reality is that people don't just hand you things like trips to Europe just because you really really want them. Sometimes you have to wait--and work--for things you want and though the trip would be a good thing learning this important lesson is better.

I'm with you on this one: she's 16, it's an outrageous amount of money to spend on a trip for a 16 year old who will be without her parents to keep an eye on her and who is going to spend more time giggling with her friends and boy watching than really learning anything or truly appreciating the very expensive experience. That's just the reality of it... and I say this as someone who never got the chance to go to Europe until my 20s either, and when I finally did, it meant soooo much more to me because I had to work for it.

Jenna Consolo said...

Michelle, this was one of the best posts you've written. It was so well-crafted. I agree with you whole-heartedly and I get so frustrated with schools for even suggesting these kinds of trips! I think you're right, the time will come, and so will the wisdom.

The Texas Bakers said...

I think you made a good call. A bunch of my friends went to Russia for a few weeks when we were in High School, on a school-sponsored trip. I didn't get to go. I needn't have even bothered asking, either. We couldn't have done it financially, but my parents wouldn't have let me go if we could. Many of my friends began their lifetime abuse of alcohol and other substances on that very trip. And they were not bad kids. There is only so much supervision the chaperones can provide.
I went to Europe on my own dime when I was 20. It was so worth it and I treasure the experience. But looking back on some of the dangers I faced even at that age, I would hesitate to let my teenager go.

elena jane said...

a tough call on either side. i also think that's too young for them to be travelling so far from home....and a lot of money!!
i went to london when i was 19, worked to pay for it, and loved it. my mother was not pleased, but she never wanted me to leave home either.

it's all what works for your family....
i'd say no now too....

Suzanne said...

Tender post.

LisaC said...

dprMy parents broke my heart and said no to many things like this, (though never a 30 day trip! That is way too long for a trip away from family.) I was so mad at them that I moved from Utah to the East Coast at age 18 and stayed for 12 years (I still don't live in Utah - a fact my mother loves to feel sorry for herself about.) I, like some else said, didn't even need to ask for most things liek that because there wouldn't have been the money. But my friends got to go. 30 days....TOO MUCH! and I am with you on the glorified panhandling disguised as fund raising. I might have said yes if the trip was shorter and if I could be a chaperone. But I wouldn't let her go alone. It is great that you explained it all to her. I just went around thinking it was because my mom wanted to make sure I didn't have any fun without her. :)

Dedee said...

Also delurking to say Good for you. I think it's insane for kids to be offered that opportunity. I don't look forward to the day when I will have to say "No". But it will happen. These are the toughest moments as a parent.

Shannon said...

I completely agree with your analysis of this situation and I am so impressed with the compassion you showed your daughter. Saying no is hard and it only seems to get harder as they get older.

I spent 3 weeks in France when I was 13. It was just expected that I would go so I did. I look back on that experience now and it pains me how much I took it for granted. What I would give to go back the older and wiser me. It truly was an experience of a lifetime but I had no perspective of a lifetime so I didn't get how amazing it really was.

AlaneM said...

Great job momma! I admire your wisdom.

Melissa Markham said...

That's a really tough call. I didn't get to go to France either because my dad had been laid off and we had just built a new home.

I did go to France in 1996 with my husband and I insisted we take our 9 and 7 year old boys. I am glad we did, though the 7 year old doesn't remember much about it and the 9 year old didn't appreciate it as he would have when he was older. It was a wonderful experience for us all.

Troubled Teen said...

that'll definitely be very devastating for your kid! but if it were me, can i chaperon my kid in europe?

Lei said...

You are such a good mom. And that is such a hard thing for a mom to do.

jubilee said...

I can so relate. I had an opportunity to go to England in the 10th grade. My parents thought I was crazy. Bitter tears were wept when I realized it just wasn't happening.

I had the chance to go to Italy this past fall, but couldn't for different reasons. Not so many tears this time. And not bitter ones, just regretful ones.

I can see Cherie coming home doing the very same thing.

Kris said...

I was the student/child who DID get to go on the trip in grade 11 to Greece for Spring Break. I had always worked part-time during school (since I was 14) and paid for part of the trip myself. That is the only way it would work in my parents' eyes and I enjoyed having something to work towards. That experience lead me to three years later, working two full time jobs to pay for a 2 month excursion in Europe. I think everyone should have the opportunity to travel abroad but the timing and the maturity level must be there too.

K.

page2 said...

Good call. I hope I don't cave in when my children come home excited about something like that that I feel is inappropriate. I think visiting Europe will be a wonderful part of my childrens' education. But my husband and I will share that trip with them. I want to go too!

Nicole said...

THis is an issue I think about alot too. Thanks for sharing.

Mrs Nespy said...

Being a good mom is saying "no" in the best interest of the child even when you really want to say "yes"

Sneakers Girl said...

My husband and I struggle with this issue all the time. Of course we want to be able to give our kids everything --especially since we both went without as kids--but how else are life lessons learned. I actually went to Japan for a year as an exchange student when I was 16. I got some scholarships for some of it, worked for a lot of it, and my amazing uncle paid for part of it too. It was a very difficult expense for my family, but my mother really wanted me to have that experience... and it DID change my life. So, working for things, saving money and understanding the value of a dollar are tough lessons to teach if you don't HAVE to.

SabineM said...

WOW--what a fabulous post. So well written, so well said!
A tough call. I loved what Robin wrote.
I grew up in Switzerland so that trip never came up or was an issue. Then we moved to the US when I was 13 1/2, so every other summer I was shipped off to family in France or Switzerland.
The experience would be amazing, BUT maybe at an later time. I think a young teen will not fully grasp it AND depending on the organization, might not be SUPERVISED enough!
Haaa I have NOT had to face that yet. I will remember this post!
I have to go pack....off I go tomorrow (only 2 hours away)

Summer said...

Hi Michelle,
I just want to clarify the comment I made earlier.

I wouldn't presume to tell you that you were making the wrong decision, just that I don't agree that handing a child one amazing trip of a lifetime will devalue their work ethic or that they won't appreciate it.

Of course that depends on the child. My parents allowed me to go because I was a very good teen. I respected them, cleaned the house for them every day, was open with them, etc. I had a love for learning and culture and architecture and came back from my trip so enriched. I didn't spend my time crushing on boys (as one commenter mentioned kids might do). I was a very down to earth kid.

My parents both worked full time jobs and had instilled in me the value of a job well done and working hard at it from an early age. They rarely handed me anything, but they realized that the opportunity might never come again. What better time is there to travel than before you have adult responsibilities? I was lucky in that respect since I met my husband at 19 and had our first child by 20. We'll never be able to afford traveling abroad as a family, nor is that a priority anymore (though I still dream of it). But if the opportunity comes for one of my children and they are well rounded and it is affordable I'll give it to them.

My parents would never have allowed my little brother to go. Though they taught him the same, he decided to value other things and is still a very lazy person.

It all depends on the family situation and the child and I hope your daughter will be able to understand why you've made the decision you have and be ok with it someday.

Mindy said...

I just think this was a beautifully written post, regardless of the decision about your daughter's trip.

TAMY & the SGT said...

I know we all have stories like that, my trip didn't even leave the states and my father went ballistic. He said it wasn't the money or that he didn't trust me, it was his trust in everyone else that he questioned and had doubts. Now as an adult I realize our parents did understand, they really were us once. The thing that our parents didn't have to experience was the world as it is today. I try to think back to the world as it was in the mid 1970's and put myself in my parents place and I'm pretty sure had I known then what the future would hold now, I'd have been more likely to let me go on a domestic trip then than I was to let my son go now.

Melissa said...

I spent 6 weeks in Germany with 4 chaperones, staying in youth hostels and with students homes that had visited us the year before in the states. We even traveled a bit in Switzerland, France, and upper part of Germany. It was the most exciting time for me, I was 17 years old, going into my senior year that fall.

To this day, I thank my parents for sending me on this trip because I would never have made it to Germany again most likely. Hubby and I have been on two cruises and a few trips to the Carribbean but he just doesn't want to go to Europe as much as I do.

My sister has taken her oldest daughter to London twice for school trips, once as a chaperone even.

If you prepare your child in advance the trip would be very worth it for her.