This equality thing has finally swung around enough that dads get to do some fun things too.
It’s not just being equally responsible for changing diapers, cleaning the floors or picking the kids up from a practice anymore. Now dads are nearly as likely to go on a field trip as moms, and it’s kind of awesome.
I’ve been going on field trips for my whole dad career. I have more vacation days to spend than money to spend on them, so it’s a good use of a day off. I’m just enough of a dork to enjoy heading out to a science museum or a historic site. As long as the work calendar is relatively clear when I hear about the trip, I am happy to use one of my days off to go along.
When I first started going on those field trips with my oldest daughter, I was a bit of an outsider. Mostly mothers went on those memory-making trips. It was just awkward being one of the only dads, explaining the system my wife and I had for splitting up field trips.
Back in the good old days, dads just didn’t go on field trips. Sometimes grandpas might, but I don’t recall my dad ever going along on a field trip. It doesn’t diminish my memories of a great childhood, especially with the amount of time my dad and I spent together. We just didn’t do that on field trips.
Fast forward to a trip my youngest daughter and I took to Grand Rapids this week. Nearly half the parents making the trek were men.
I don’t want to diminish the importance of moms going on field trips, or how great it’s been all those years when they primarily chaperoned events. There’s something important about a father and a child learning together too, though.
My wife and I roughly split up the field trips each year. Our youngest kind of expects us to go on the same trip we did with our middle daughter and oldest daughter, hence my third trip to Grand Rapids this fall and a likely return trip to Fort Wayne’s Science Central in the spring. Yet each one is different, since each daughter is interested in slightly different things.
They seem to acknowledge each parent brings something different to a trip, too. My daughters tell me I tend to be a little sillier and a tad more fun on these field trips. They might learn a bit more when Mom goes along. They’re clearly proud to have a parent along with them either way.
Oddly enough, I feel like the one learning when I go along for the ride. It’s fascinating watching your children interact with other children, particularly how it changes over the years. I’ll never tire of seeing them succeed in being a good friend; I’ll never stop cringing when I see them face their fears in front of their peers.
It’s an insight into these children we’ve released into the world. And hopefully along the way, they’re learning more about us, what we find interesting and what we care about, namely them.