Nov 13

NOTE TO SELF: DON’T BE SO QUICK TO JUDGE (or take too much credit)

by in Central America, Road School

The travel reputation of “cruisers” – folks who see the world by cruise ship – is legendary.  The demographic is typically a bit older (sometimes much older), and they’ve been known to forego the ports for the next round of trivia or shuffleboard.  And yes, they can conjure up the Michener quote….if you reject the food and the culture, you might as well stay home . . . but once again, I’m reminded that stereotypes are a dangerous thing.

Dundee and Sacagawea are mini celebrities on our ship.  While we’ve been told there are some six other children onboard (thus a total of eight out of a whopping 2000 passengers), the others must be safely locked in their cabins as no one’s had a sighting since leaving LA.  This means, of course, that their mere presence is enough to start a conversation, and more than occasionally, create a connection.

Take the elderly man we met at the buffet the other day.  Easily in his late 70’s (and more likely a bit older), he stopped Dundee with the predictable “…aren’t you lucky, young man, to be on this trip!  And by the way, why aren’t you in school?”  Once shy in their answers, both kids are now quick to point out that they are in school, homeschool that is.  The gentleman’s ears perked up, and he immediately struck up a conversation, asking where they’d been, what subjects they enjoy most, and so on.  After several minutes of lively discussion, he volunteered that his wife had homeschooled their children, when they lived in the jungle near the Amazon River, and again, while they lived in Africa. 

Think about that!  Here’s a guy easily in his late 70’s, gingerly navigating the ship’s buffet…who’d guess he’d once called the Amazon jungles and the plains of Africa home, and that his wife had also homeschooled their kids, long before the world of the internet made it so easy.  Any sense of smugness I’d once quietly enjoyed, instantly erased.  These guys were the pioneers,  the Greatest Generation, as Brokaw points out; we’re simply blessed to be following in their footsteps.

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