If you’ve ever tried to lead a group of kindergartners through a corn maze, you know it’s a bit like herding cats.
When author Clint Edwards signed up to chaperone his 5-year-old daughter’s field trip, he thought it would be a fun day of picking pumpkins, drinking apple cider, and bonding with his little girl. But instead, the Oregon dad found himself sweaty, disheveled, and totally in awe of people who work in childcare.
Clint is no stranger to parenting. He has three kids of his own, writes a popular dad blog, and has even published a few books on the subject, but this experience still left him rattled. Instead of a relaxing day of fun, Clint found himself racing around, frantically trying to keep everyone out of trouble.
When he got home, he sat down and wrote about his day, prefacing the post with, “I haven’t had a drink in 16 years, but I wanted a drink today. I wanted one real bad.”
I was only with the children for about four hours, but if I had four hours left to live, I’d have spent them on that field trip because it felt like an eternity. Between the mud at the pumpkin patch, and the smell on the bus that I couldn’t quite identify but was probably a virus, and that one wild little boy that is either destined to be a groundbreaking artist or an inmate, I ended the afternoon with a long hot soak in the bath, too many cookies, and a handful of Tylenol.
Clint explained that dealing with his own offspring is one thing, but managing other people’s kids turned out to be above his pay grade. The situation was especially difficult because the children in his group “listened about as good as goldfishes.”
If you’ve ever been an adult on a field trip, we’re sure you can relate to his exhaustion! There’s just something draining about watching a group of little ones, especially when they’re running around a field they could easily get lost in!
The one person who remained unflappable all day was the kids’ teacher, and Clint was left with a renewed respect for everything educators do to keep their students safe, entertained, and informed.
Not only did she succeed in getting the kids to change their shoes twice to keep mud off the bus (not to mention the 200 other tasks she juggled before and after), but she did it with a smile on her face. In Clint’s words, “If she listed this act on her résumé, she’d be as respected as any military general.”
The tired dad’s point: “If you are a teacher reading this, give yourself a huge pat on the back. You are incredible. And if you know a teacher, give them a huge thank-you.”
We’re so grateful for all the selfless individuals out there who are working in childcare! Clint said it best, but we’ll add to it: Thank you for everything you do! And don’t forget to take breaks sometimes. You deserve them!
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