Disclaimer: This is a non-political political post. My personal leanings are both red and blue (blue social, red economic). I have an ideological point to convey but it’s neither red nor blue.
America First! America First!
Those four words in President Trump’s inauguration speech took on two entirely different meanings depending on how you view the world. To some they simply reaffirm a return to common sense policy and a nation’s self interest. To others they caused fear and revulsion, not to mention a reminder that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Count me in the second camp.
I imagine you’re expecting me to tell you now how traveling with kids teaches them about America’s place on the global stage. And it’s true that isolation looks less viable to kids who understand that China is only a twelve hour flight away.
But that’s not what this post is about.
This post is indeed about why traveling with kids is important. However, I think we who travel have missed a piece of the puzzle. We focus so much on exposing our kids- and ourselves- to international culture that we neglect our own backyards.
A history lesson
Deal Dad and I were both born in the Midwest but have been East Coast Urbanites for 25 years. The 2004 Iowa primary ad against Howard Dean above could have just as easily described Hilary Clinton. However, with the exception of “body-piercing” (hey, I don’t judge) it may also describe you. We drove a Volvo up until a few years ago and I love sushi.
Much of our families still live in “flyover country”. Just as I had to explain a 1980s Bloom County joke to Deal Kid Deal Dad had to explain why almost no people of color went to his high school. And that’s the problem. Aziz Ansari recently noted that more Donald Trump voters than we think simply have no relationship with minorities or liberals save that they see in the media. It’s a lot easier to believe in the bogeyman if you have no other evidence.
But this cuts both ways
Ok, Hee Haw is a bit on the nose. But you get my drift- much of my Facebook feed is cluttered with end of the world “commentary” from friends that ought to know better. Pablum that makes all Donald Trump voters and conservatives out to be “deplorables”. Stuff that makes me wonder if they’ve ever been to a state fair or seen corn knee high by the fourth of July.
I’ve spent a lot of time on the blog talking about Camp Mom. Usually on the off years I focus my blog time on the solo travel I get to do. Today I want to remind you of the importance of Camp Dad. For two weeks every other year the Deal Kids head to the Midwest to visit relatives. They ride tractors, feed farm animals, see life size cows made of butter and eat more fried food on a stick than you can imagine.
But most of the time they just sit around and visit. Talk to cousins their age about manga, video games, movies. Listen to older relatives talk about their days. They learn that farming is a real business that takes acumen in accounting, human resources and finance. And the Deal Kids’ cousins see that East Coast kids are cool, too.
That’s why traveling with kids is important
One lesson I'm taking from the 2016 trainwreck is that America needs to heal itself. Marches and political involvement are great- as far as they go- but to me they try to assuage the symptoms instead of healing the patient.
Not so long ago one side party won and one party lost but we all pretty much went about our business. We all agreed on the basic principle that Americans as a whole were good people but some just happened to disagree with you. Now it seems like those who don't share your views are evil.
Call me PollyAnna but here's my thought: travel with your kids- here in the United States. If you're a Bi-Coastal, visit the Midwest. If you're in flyover, spend some time in the cities. Let your kids loose in a playground while you chat with another parent on a park bench. Don't talk politics. Talk about The Walking Dead or the Super Bowl. Talk about how kids can make friends anywhere with anyone.
Any maybe, just maybe the next time:
a)President Trump says something wackadoodle or
b)Some biased reporter totally misreports the news
You'll pause and delete before you post your rant on Facebook.
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