Ever since Monster was tiny, he's always been the kid who can get along with anyone. You can put him with people, and he's perfectly capable of interacting. He has never been the kid who forms a lot of close friendships. The close friendships he does build are with those that he feels truly comfortable with. He's definitely not my social child, yet, he's very sociable. Why does any of this matter? Because the 8th grade DC trip is really just a social event. A social event that my child had no interest in going to.
I don't know if any of you remember your trips to DC, or, in my case, Toronto. Everyone I've talked to doesn't remember these trips. They can't tell you anything they learned. They remember the social stuff. From our trip, I remember the boys ordering pay- per- view porn and we went to see Phantom of the Opera. That's it. I remember nothing else. I can't even tell you who my roommates were and we only had 14 people in our entire group. Husband can't tell you one thing he learned from his trip. Other people have vague recollections of seeing certain things, but nothing stuck. So, tell me again how my son is missing out?
My son wants to learn. That's the difference between him and most everyone else. He's known from the start that this was just a social trip, disguised as a learning experience. When he first heard about the trip, he already stated that he would rather go with his family so that he could see what he wanted instead of what other people wanted him to see. As an alternate trip, the kids who did not go to DC went to the Museum of Natural History, the Western Reserve Historical Society, and All Fired Up. My son loves the Museum of Natural History. Even better, they got to do the planetarium, which is one thing he's not been able to do while he's been there in the past. He came home raving about it. And, he was also social. He hung out with kids that he knows from classes but isn't really friends with. He got to have conversations with kids he normally wouldn't due to different social groups. The alternate trip took the social groups away and tossed people together. So how is he missing out? He's learning things and learning how to get along with people outside of his usual group of friends.
Did the DC kids have fun? Of course. A lot of them had a great time. Was it a better time than what my kid had? No. It was just different. Will he ever get to see Washington DC? He will. On his terms. He'll get to see what he wants and take as much time as he wants. There is a great program for high schoolers to go to DC and actually learn about the government. They get to sit in on a session of Congress (if in session while there). They have classes in the evenings about political topics. They aren't just with their friends, but with people from all over the country. If he doesn't take part in a program like this, it's OK, too. I know that he's not missing out on anything. I know that one day, he'll get to the Smithsonian (that's really all he wants to go see).
Monster didn't miss out. Maybe it was the opposite way around. Maybe all those other kids missed out. Maybe they missed out on getting to know others outside of their social groups. Maybe they missed out on opportunities to learn how to get along with people they are thrown with. Just don't go making an assumption that someone is missing out on something when it's something they truly don't even want to do.