Last week I was somehow talked into helping to chaperon my kindergartener’s class trip to a nearby farm. We were asked to drive separately to the farm so that all the children could ride together on a bus and there just wasn’t enough room for the adults. As the bus arrived, their teachers handed each of us an agenda and our assigned charges. Then without much preamble the bus doors re-opened and a flood of five and six year-olds came charging towards us, each dressed in a matching shirt for easier identification.
Luckily there were enough volunteers so that no adult was outnumbered by more than two. I was assigned to watch my son as well as another boy. I knelt down beside the other boy and looked him straight in the eye. I told him we were going to be buddies for they day. I made sure he would be able to recognize my face as I memorized his. I was determined that the boy’s parents would not have any reason to complain about my care. Satisfied that he understood, the three of us went hand in hand into the farm. We took a hayride together, had lunch, climbed on hay bales, and fed goats. Then the children found the corn maze.
True to our agreement, my charge remained by my side. But then I looked around and realized that my son was gone, lost somewhere in the rows of corn. I had just assumed he would stay near me, but I had underestimated the call of the maze. I saw a flash of a blue shirt and a blonde head run by. We immediately chased after the child only to discover that it was a little girl and not my son. We went back the way we came shouting my son’s name. He magically appeared a minute or two later, skipping along the path, completely unaware that he had just freaked his mom out.
I would hope that when it is the parents of the other little boy’s turn to chaperon they take their responsibility just as seriously as I did. However it does goes to show you that when you focus all your attention on what other people think, what matters most to other people, you risk losing sight of what matters most to you.