Lessons From a School Field-trip3:13 AM
My youngest daughter is especially difficult to wake up in the morning. For a school day that starts at 7 am, you can just imagine the stress we go through on a daily basis in having to repeatedly wake her up to eat, take a bath, and dress up. It is truly a test of wills between mother and daughter which often leads to frustration and grumpy mornings.
In my children's school, students are accompanied by a parent or guardian in field-trips until the second grade. I was tasked to be the companion of my daughter for this year and was actually glad to do it since this will be the last time for me or my husband to accompany any of our children in this kind of activity. Next year, she will have to be on her own just like her older brother.
The Field-trip Day
The assembly time set for the field-trip was 5:30 am. Many people would think that my daughter's excitement will make her wake up earlier than usual but this wasn't so. This morning, we were on the same mother-daughter routine of alternately cajoling and forcing her to speed up her actions so we can make it on time. There were also some aggravating circumstances that happened the night before which only permitted me two hours of sleep prior to waking up.
Harried and already exhausted very early in the morning, I wasn't exactly feeling well enough to go on a field-trip to the zoo but nothing will stop this day for my daughter. We arrived in her school, literally jumping out of the car as soon as it stopped, and running as fast as we can with our packed food and my daughter's extra clothes plus an umbrella because it was raining. The moment I saw the expression on the sisters' face at the lobby, I knew there was something wrong. The school is handled by a group of religious sisters who make it a point to greet the students in the morning.
And then I heard the words: The last bus has already left about 10 minutes ago. Bus number 6 which was our bus, left much earlier. We were left behind because we were late.
I froze in an instant, then I looked at my daughter whose tears were already welling in her eyes. My daughter's great disappointment probably pierced through the sisters' hearts that they almost instantaneously acted to find a way. They called up my daughter's adviser who was in Bus number 6 and inquired from her about their exact location. Apparently, Bus number 6 was caught in a major traffic choke point and was therefore delayed. The sisters then instructed the adviser to wait for us in a designated gasoline station in the highway and then instructed my husband and I to find a shortcut to meet the bus in the designated place without causing any further delay.
The Pursuit of Bus Number 6
If you know my husband and I well enough, you will know what will come next in this story. We were off in pursuit of Bus number 6 the moment the sisters finished their instructions. My husband drove the car, I was on the cellphone in direct communication with the adviser, and my daughter was in charge of praying to keep us safe and to help us reach our destination in time. When it comes to our children, we will overcome the impossible, much more if we were the given the slimmest of a chance. We came about 10 minutes ( a miracle by itself) after the bus did and after much apologies to other parents and children, my daughter and I finally occupied our seats.
Learning from the Field-trip Destinations
Our first stop was the Avilon Montalban Zoological Park. As expected, the children were introduced to various animal species. It was more or less a two-hour trek which the children didn't seem to mind, filled with wonder and awe for these creatures they don't regularly see
in their lives.
The second and final stop was the Araneta Coliseum to watch the Disney Live "Mickey's Rockin' Road Show". There was much excitement from the children as familiar characters like Cinderella, Tigger, Woody, Jesse, and Buzz Lightyear were introduced into the show by the gang composed of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck. The only setback was that much of the other activities like the interaction of the characters with the public and the shower of confetti were concentrated on the audience nearest the stage which somehow made the rest of the audience including us merely spectators of fun rather than being part of it. Before we knew it, it was time to go home but the entire day was over-all a pleasant learning experience.
Long after my daughter has forgotten all the names of the animals she was introduced to and long after she has gotten over her excitement with the gown worn by Cinderella in the show, I know she will retain in her mind the importance of punctuality. Being a parent, I often find myself protecting my children from the possible consequences of their actions. In the case of my young daughter, it was a long overdue lesson of the consequences of slacking even when there are strict time requirements to be observed.
That said, I now realize that life will teach my children hard lessons, whether I like it or not. I knew she had it coming but I never had the heart to teach it myself in the fear of hurting her. I am just thankful that she learned the value of punctuality aside from a whole lot about the animal kingdom. But most of all, I knew she realized that we needed her to do her part especially in times when we, her parents have other major concerns to attend to.