Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Field Trip: Learning to Fly, Without Crash Landing

My son’s school has taken him to some interesting places on field trips. The latest, yesterday, was to a place I never knew existed until we heard about the excursion.

The students went to The Actor’s Gymnasium, a school for circus and performing arts. Their tagline is “learn to fly – physically, emotionally, intellectually, and creatively.”

In addition to teaching people the skills to become physical theater artists, they also occasionally put on performances that showcase their work. When I was a kid, we never went to such fascinating places.

Field trips are always dicey with Kai. He always looks forward to them, usually enjoys them immensely, but often has trouble with his behavior, as the trips are a departure from the usual routine.

When Kai came home from school yesterday, I eagerly greeted him and could not wait to hear about his day. But before he could say anything, my wife broke the news to me – Kai had had a bad day.

He walked in the door and threw his hat down. Something had happened on the field trip and he was still angry.

We opened his backpack and found a note from his teacher. She explained that Kai did a wonderful job during most of the trip. He was very patient on the bus going down there, and was very engaged and entertained during the 30-minute performance.

After the performance, the kids participated in group and partner activities. Kai was enthusiastic and patient for the first two stations (juggling and silks), but then became very upset when he was not called first at the third station (tumbling). After that, his behavior deteriorated as he became verbally abusive throughout the remainder of the time.

It is still sometimes hard for me to believe how he can go from being engaged and patient to angry and abusive in a moment’s time. What happened in his mind to change him from being happy to mad so suddenly?

I guess Kai is still very early in the process of learning to fly emotionally. We have a lot of work to do yet to cut down on all the crash landings.


  1. ...or you could say that he had a 2/3 great day! :)

    He is getting there. The better portions will increase, as well as the frequency of occurrence, as he matures.

    1. Yes, he did have 2/3 great day, which is not all bad. Hopefully he will learn how to keep the little things from spoiling his good days.


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