What a lucky life I lead. Former colleague and legendary Carolina Day School and now Christ Church Episcopal School teacher Mark Levin asked me to come along on a week-long road trip with twenty-three 11 to 13 year old boys. Maybe it’s not your idea of a grand time, but I jumped at the chance. So here I am, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley on an adventure. Making the deal even sweeter, my son Jackson is along for the ride. Boy time!
I didn’t think this would be a big learning experience, just spending the week with wild, goofball boys and running amok outside, but quickly I realized that if I paid attention, I could be reminded of some really cool stuff about boys.
Yesterday I was reminded that boys still say wow.
Out on a hike in Shenandoah National Park we came across millipedes creeping across damp ground and the boys said wow. They said quiet wows when we hiked up to the rocks and looked down to see vultures soaring below us.
The boys winced with disgust and said wow when I held up the tick I found climbing on my calf. They uttered curious wows as they peppered Appalachian Trail through-hikers with questions. They said wow when we nibbled wild blueberries growing along the trail.
The boys murmured puzzled wows as we inspected iron bars that had been pounded into stone, creating some sort of support for a long-gone bridge. They screamed WOW! when we saw a black bear rooting for grubs along the roadside.
At every stop they took in the world around them, faces lit with curiosity.
I think we forget how curious and engaged boys can be. We see them glued to the Xbox or some device and wonder if they’ve lost something, if boys these days have changed. We see them sluggish, ambivalent at best about their school work and more than a little resistant to picking up a book. We worry and wonder if they are going to be OK.
But I think the boys are already alright. Everybody take a deep breath. The boys still say wow; I’ve heard them.
Maybe it’s up to us to find a few more chances for them to let their wows out.
Click to check out recent photos from our adventures.