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Friday, April 20, 2012

Culture Kids

Last night when I got on the T, I noticed a grandmother and a granddaughter standing next to me. The grandmother says to the girl “When we get to North Station, head straight for the escalator. If we get separated, we’ll meet at the top of the escalator.” That’s a pretty smart gramma for having a plan. It was rush hour and if you get separated from a kid who doesn’t know the ins and outs of public transit, you could get lost. We got off at North Station and the granddaughter did exactly that, went directly toward the escalator. They got to the top and the grandmother goes “Great job. Now walk in a straight line and follow the crowd. I don’t want you to get trampled.”

I thought this was pretty neat. It’s great to teach kids how to use public transit to get around a city. It makes them less intimidated to use it when they are adults. I recall going into Boston to see Disney on Ice every year for my birthday with my parents and we’d hop on the T. Being kids from New Hampshire, my sister and I were wide eyed to the characters we’d encounter on the T. I always remember thinking it was the greatest thing that there was a stop called “Lechmere” because when you’re a child of the 80’s, that is where all of your home electronics came from.  

Fast forward and my sister and I were young adults. My grandparents took us into New York City. During that stay, we took the trains, ferries, taxi’s and limo’s. My grandfather had a story for each way of transit which made my sister, grandmother and I laugh at each one. It was a great experience because we experienced all the ways of travel in a city in one weekend. We also went to Ellis Island, did some shopping, ate at the Oyster Bar and attempted to see RENT (our limo got stuck in traffic and the box office literally shut in our faces. My sister and I got a fancy dessert while my grandparents enjoyed a “Manny-Hanny” and a gin martini.)

By showing kids and young adult’s culture and different ways of life, it does help them be less intimidated to do it on your own. For the people in the city, this seems to go without saying. However, for the people in the country, get those kids into the city. Give them culture (arts, shows, plays, shopping…Disney on Ice) and let them know that there is a world beyond their small one. I am grateful that my parents and grandparents showed my sister and I culture and cities and most important- how to get around them.

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