DC Suburbanites are known as being tightly wound, ambitious over-achievers. We’re also often accused of being “Helicopter Parents”. You know the stereotype: our kids are surrounded in bubble wrap, given trophies for going to the bathroom, and god forbid a teacher give a kid anything under an A as he’ll get an earful from Mommy!
I consider myself more of a “Drone Parent” (maybe I should trademark that). I’m more of an “eye in the sky” than a hoverer, ready to fire when things get truly messy but generally content to let the kids suffer minor bumps and bruises as they bumble along the road called life. I want my kids to be comfortable taking risks and to have the guts to pick themselves up when they fall down.
What does this have to do with travel? Quite a bit, actually. One way I try to get my kids comfortable with getting out of their comfort zones is leading by example. I want my kids to see me taking risks of my own, and that’s what led me to push my then four and seven year old kids off of a mountain in Guatemala.
It’s funny, I wasn’t scared to zipline, even though it was my first time. The Deal Kids weren’t scared…in fact they BEGGED to go. But I was scared FOR THEM. Are you sure the rigs are safe for kids? How many hundreds of feet up are we again? My usually zen parenting style flew out the window and I fought the urge to scour the mercado in Antigua for bubble wrap.
Of course, it went great. Deal Girl even did a Dead-on impression of Goofy’s “Yoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-ee” as she flew down the zipline…and got stuck in the middle. Turns out 30 pounds was a little light to make it to the other end. She hung there joyfully singing while the trainer went out and gave her another big push…to the other side of the mountain.
When she dismounted from her gear, she ran up to me with a huge smile on her face and announced, “I flew higher than the birds! I am amazing!”
Yes you are, Deal Girl, and yes you did. You flew higher than the helicopter, higher than the drone, higher than the birds.