Thursday , June 12, 2014 - 12:00 AM
Sooner or later, most folks around here take the kids on a trek through the dinosaur park at the mouth of the canyon in east Ogden. We do it in the spirit of wanting to educate them, but if most of us were completely honest, we’d admit we also hope the soundtracks play at just the right moments. There’s something gratifying about watching a kid’s eyes grow big as platters while they’re staring at the life-sized replica of a T-Rex and the sound of brush and trees cracking nearby suddenly bursts forth, followed by a loud, thunderous roar. It instantly converts them to the wisdom of “Stay close to mom.”
Our recent excursion included 10 adults and 7 kids. Those were good odds. It meant the adults were able to collectively take our group through the park and not lose any of them.
It was apparent that the perspective each of us had at the dinosaur park was dependent on two things: our age, and our level of responsibility. As the senior member of the troop, my thoughts ran along the lines of, Did we get everyone in the cars? I hope the lunch I packed stays cold. I hope everyone remembers how to get there. I hope we don’t have to park too far away. I hope the kids like this.
The rest of the adults had their own perspectives: I’m glad I didn’t have to pack the lunch. I hope it doesn’t get too hot. Did I sunscreen everyone? Did I get everyone strapped in? Did I bring the diaper bag? Did I remember the sippy cup?
And then there were the perspectives of the young ones. From the 8-year-old boy’s point of view: I’m trying to fill out this Field Guide book they gave me at the entrance desk, but we keep walking too fast for me to stop and read all the things that teach me about these dinosaurs. Plus my little sister keeps talking to my mom when she’s trying to explain this stuff to me.
From the perspective of the 6-year-old girl: These words are hard to read. Mom, what does A-L-L-O-S-A-U-R-U-S spell?
From the 4-year-old sister: I hate that we have to stop and look at all the pictures and read the words to my brother. And my mom won’t let me pick the flowers. And she won’t let me touch the dinosaurs.
From the 3-year-old girl: I want in my stroller. I want out of my stroller. That’s a red dinosaur. That’s a green dinosaur. There’s a bird. I want to walk. I need a drink.
From the 2-year-old twin boys: Wow! Mom, look! Wow! Daddy, look! Let’s run! Wow! Mom, look! Wow! Daddy, look! Let’s run!
From the 1-year-old boy: I’m in my stroller facing my mom with the hood pulled over my head to keep the sun out. So this dinosaur park looks the same as the grocery store or the shopping mall. But I get to look at my mom. She smiles a lot at me. She’s pretty.
From all the kids’ points of view the first time a dinosaur roared: AAAAAHHHHHH!
Meandering along with my group I realized that life is a lot like a trip to the dinosaur park. Sometimes you spend a lot of energy trying to figure out if you’ve gathered up everything you need for the journey. Sometimes you’re annoyed because it seems like other people are in the way of your progress. Sometimes you just want to explore, but can’t quite read the signs by yourself. Sometimes you don’t quite know what you want, but you enjoy the trip so you just keep walking. Sometimes you want to run at full speed exclaiming, Wow! Look! Wow! Look! Wow! Sometimes there are moments that scare the life out of you and you’re screaming inside, AAAAAHHHHHH! And then there are moments when you just stand in awe, staring in wonder at what’s before you.
When you really think about it, the thing that makes the journey interesting and fun and worth it, no matter where or how you’re traveling—is the people you travel with.
You can contact D. Louise Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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