But somehow, I got hustled into volunteering to be a chaperon for a field trip to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. Let me just say that I learned a lot and enjoyed the exhibits more than I thought I would. The cars actually looked so much cooler up close and in person. And the older cars from the very first races had all the scratches and even some of the dust still on the tires. Although, I enjoyed looking at the cars and learning more about the sport, you won't catch me watching a race any time soon.
What I didn't enjoy was the fact that the group of kids we were with totally embarrassed the hell out me and the other 20 something odd chaperons that were with us. Let's start with the bus ride. Our site shared a bus with another neighboring site and we all knew the first rule of riding on a tour bus, train or plane is no number 2 in the bathroom. So, why did one of the teenage kids from the other site take a number 2 before we were even half way down the road? Can you say stank bus ride all the way to Charlotte!!!
We get there and they serve the kids lunch. The table behind us was loud and rowdy the entire time. The kids were picking fights, picking on each other, crawling on the floor like babies, etc. We were in a room with the major of Charlotte (Anthony Foxx) and representatives from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Duke Energy and other big name corporations with headquarters in Charlotte. It was highly embarrassing to have kids behaving in such a manner. Not to mention we had other schools and locations there as well and their kids were much more well behaved.
Finally, we split our large 300 and something odd group into two smaller groups of 150 or more and head off in different directions to tour the museum. Our first stop was to look at all the cars and learn a bit of the history behind them and the different race tracks across the country. The first rule was not to touch any of the displays and number two was not to climb up onto any of the car displays. Well, I found myself pushing down more than one hand from touching a display. Thankfully nobody decided to climb up onto one.
One of the other major problems we incurred were the kids wanting to stop and play every interactive game we passed. It just wasn't feasible and I got a lot of rolled eyes, neck yoking and mumbling. It took everything in me to remember that those kids were not my own and that I could not pull out a belt on them. Lord knows I wanted to. (Spare the rod, spoil the child.)
The most embarrassing part came when our very nice tour guide had to call security on our 150 group. I could not believe that those kids would not get quiet and keep their hands off the stuff they weren't suppose to touch. Seriously, they were causing a very dangerous situation. We had kids from other sites climbing trashcans, beating beats out on the wall and yelling to their friends across the landing. Totally humiliating to appear so helpless in public like that.
And even with the security guards present some of the kids still decided to be loud and race down the stairwell to the theater. To sum this up: I will never volunteer to go with such a large and unruly group of children ever again!! While I understood that the program they were in wanted to expose them to a great opportunity, I feel like many of them missed the point. They were so caught up in trying to prove they were BAD, the SHIT or whatever that they failed to learn anything from this experience.
Instead they made us look like the stereotypes that we are portrayed as in the media. They are in a program that is suppose to be motivating them to not become products of their environments and they are doing just that and acting like they are proud of it. Watching those children today, I had to wonder if there will be a future for them and if so what will it look like? It scares me to think that they will be our future leaders when I am graying and old in my rocker. I pray that God has mercy on us and opens their eyes to big beautiful world out there.
I pray that more parents will take the time to teach their children the importance of respecting others. Heck, I want more parents to start volunteering to go on these trips. It was 100% FREE and half those parents weren't working anyway. We have to take an interest in our children and making them the future we need them to be. So, let's wake up please. I can't have another experience like the one I had today.