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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Prague: Why I took my son

Hubs was asking me yesterday what I wanted to get out of bringing our 6 year old along to Prague with us.  I answered with the reasons that have been floating around in my head, but his question did spark some thought.  

Did I make the right decision?  Is he old enough to appreciate it?  Is he taking this trip for granted?  Could I have used some alone time away from the kids?  Will he even remember it?
I would have never gone to a zoo without kids, so I was thrilled that I went with Samuel to experience this awesome zoo with him.

Granted, it is definitely not as easy of a trip with him along (especially him being sick), but I'm still convinced that it's the right thing.  I came across this entry from a blog about taking kids on extended international trips, and it sums up the heart of my decision to bring him:
‘Will they remember it?’ is the question most people will ask when they consider the expense of a trip with small children. For us, we’re not concerned with whether they remember every trip, but with the paradigm that is being developed in their young minds by introducing them to the experience. They grow up believing that the ‘impossible’ is possible. - bootsnall.com
Another reason is that it opens their minds up to see that not everything is so black and white.  Yes, yes, America is the greatest country in the world, but perhaps there are other ways of looking at things.  ;)  Maybe "freedom" means something different to other cultures.  We don't have to agree with it, but it's interesting to see where they're coming from.  I think it makes them more empathetic people overall.

This was another good excerpt from that blog:
One incident during our trip made it especially clear that our kids were thoroughly rearranging their assumptions. It came on a spring afternoon in the Dordogne region of France, as we drove back to our hotel from a day of exploration. The kids were unusually quiet in the back seat, till Sam broke the silence to announce, "I always thought the United States was the freest country on earth. But when you come right down to it, we’re not really." He sighed as he finished, obviously perplexed by his realization. 
We pressed him to explain how he’d arrived at that conclusion. "The French didn’t even mind that we climbed all over that ruined castle today. Back home there would have been railings and Do Not Enter signs everywhere—they would have been so afraid of being sued." He paused, dredging up another example from his experience. "And in Germany they don’t even have speed limits. It’s like over here they trust you more."
I'm just now discovering some of these things at 33.  How cool would it be to learn as a child?  I definitely think that this experience will spark some interesting thoughts in Samuel's world.

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