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Letting go...or not

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Okay, I could really use some advice here. My son is 18 and in his senior year of high school. He is a great kid, a kind soul, a good heart, you get my drift. For the past 2 years he has really started to get engrossed in history and world cultures. He just recently got accepted to Penn State University and will be majoring in Secondary Education - yes, he wants to teach History to high schoolers (God bless his heart!) He is especially fond of Eastern Asian cultures and is fascinated by their customs, religions, etc. While he worked part-time at McDonald's last year he came to meet quite a lot of people from those countries who worked at McDonald's as part of their college work study program back in their home countries. This was great for my son who got to know these friends and got to ask them questions about their countries and cultures and really learned quite a lot along the way. He has met friends from Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Turkey, Cambodia, South America, etc. This has really been a good thing for him and we have nicknamed him "The Ambassador" as he has been the one to show these people around Pittsburgh and he has taken them to the sights of our wonderful city - the good restaurants, landmarks, and true delights of what makes our city special.

Now, here comes the hard thing for me as his parent....now he would like to take a trip to visit the countries he is so fascinated by...Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand! He has kept in contact via Facebook and email with all of the people he had met through McDonald's and he would like to take a 3 week trip to see the sights of these 3 countries. He has saved up every paycheck for the past year and is set on going. We, as his parents, are not quite "on board" for such a trip and a trip of this magnitude would be quite costly for all of us to take. We really don't know what to do. I have always wanted my children to experience all life has to offer, but this is so very scary! Am I too protective? He will turn 19 in July and I have many friends who feel that it would be such and educational experience for him and that we should let him have his wings and do it....

I could really use some advice here. My husband and I are having a hard enough time dealing with him going off to college in the fall..which is only a 2 hour drive away! This trip is around the globe!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BE-THE-CHANGE 1/31/2013 10:38PM

    I am with you. I would not let my daughter go to Germany her senior year because I did not think the trip was properly chaperoned. My husband has traveled as an adult to many of those countries and someone tried to hijack him in Thailand. It was unsuccessful but he has years of experience traveling.

I would only let him go if you could be sure that these friends he has made will be with him/watching out for him. Either that, or someone goes with him as a chaperone.

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CAPECODLIGHT 1/29/2013 12:32PM

    I am a bit more cautious about this. I have not been to any of the three countires your son is most interested in, but I have been to the Philipines, both Manila and the island of Mindanao. There were safety issues, and I was traveling in my late 20's with a male companion.
Coupled with the fact that your son (who sounds like a dream) is 18, and the judgment part of his brain is still growing (and will do so into his 20's), I recommend letting him go only in a structured environment. Check out the site www.realgap.com/asia to see what types of trips are available for students. He could even do some volunteer teaching of English in Thailand for a few weeks, which ties in with his teaching interest. Good luck!

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JOYFULMOMTO5 1/29/2013 12:05PM

    OH, how I understand where your heart is in this. My DD, who is 17, goes to Africa with a group of 'strangers' to me, this summer. It's where her heart has been set since she was 7. I share that just so you know I understand. Only you as a parent know if he is ready...just make sure you are truly listening to that knowledge instead of reacting in fear of the "what ifs". As parents, we prepare our children their whole lives for steps such as this and it sounds as if you've been doing an awesome job at that! May all of you live life to its FULLEST! emoticon emoticon

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VEG_GIRL04 1/29/2013 10:36AM

    If you trust your son - you should let him go.

I know it's scary, I know it's probably not him you're worrying about but everyone else. But you can't control anyone else. Whethere he's 19 or 30 - there will always be dangers in traveling abroad, traveling alone, or even just walking down the street. What is important is that you arm him with the knowledge of how to be safe while traveling, and make sure he's set up to enjoy himself on his adventures without getting out of control.

This sounds like something he'll look back when he's older and appreciate that he had the time and the support of his family to do this once in a lifetime experience. Good for him on his acceptance of other cultures and his want to travel and learn about others. You should be proud.

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SPARKCHANTAL 1/29/2013 10:35AM

    this is a simple one.
his age is the best for travelling and seeing the world.
when else will he have the time and energy for that?
c'mon, shake a tailfeather!

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