Posted on July 2, 2015
The One Where I Let My Son Go To Australia
Early last fall, I got a notice in the mail from the People to People Ambassadors saying that Number 1 had been recommended for their program. (I am not disillusioned enough to believe that this makes him extra special. I’m sure they will take most anyone who will send their kids away.) My first inclination upon reading the letter and what this entailed, two weeks in Europe, was to throw the letter away. Obviously I am not going to send my 12 year old overseas for two weeks!
We had recently relocated and started a new school. And it was hard on this boy. He was in the early weeks of 6th grade, which is just hard anyway. Add to that the fact that he was the new kid and it was not good. Number One had lost some of his joy and confidence. And that was hard on this mom.
Maybe this trip would help bring some of the confidence and excitement back?
I called People to People. His trip to Europe was for the group travelling from North Carolina. The group from Ohio was going to Australia! I found out the cost and details of the trip and asked hundreds of questions. Husband and I sat and discussed. Husband, Number 1, and I sat and discussed. We decided it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and we should let him go.
In order to be accepted into the program, he needed a few letters of recommendation and an interview. He also needed to attend several informational meetings and a community service project. Husband and I also decided that he needed to earn most of the money himself if he wanted to go. This boy wrote letters asking for sponsors, fed cats, walked dogs, and mowed lawns. He learned that you have to work to make things happen.
Number One will be travelling with several other students across the country and the group is led by teachers. In addition to snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, going to the Sydney Opera House, holding a koala bear, and so much more, he will be doing a community service project there as well. As he prepares to leave, I keep reminding myself why it is I decided I wanted him to have this opportunity.
My son is learning what a small world it is. He will realize that even though we are from different cultures, religions, cultures, and hemispheres, we are all part of the same world and can be kind and help each other. He will make lifelong friends.
He will come back changed, and for the first time, I will not be part of that change.
I hope he also appreciates this opportunity that not many have. I hope that he returns with his old confidence back. I hope that he returns a bit more responsible. I hope he returns with his camera and his phone!
I will miss this boy. But I am so proud of him for learning to work hard and for his adventurous spirit.
Once again, I am amazed and in awe of my boys.
And I am learning how to let him go and explore the world. Have his own adventures and find out who he is.
I am also being reminded of the power of prayer, because I will be doing a LOT of it the next two weeks. Also, probably drinking a lot of wine…