Guiding: The Longest Day

George Mason, Invaded.

Yesterday afternoon was the end of a 4-day tour of Washington, DC, with thirty of the most exuberant seventh grade boys ever collected into a single group, I think.

I hollered myself hoarse saying, “Please walk on the right”– on the left they went.

The attention span of a seventh grader must be measured in nano-seconds.

When I asked them to please raise their hands if they had a question, half of them would raise their hands and I would ask them what their question was.

They didn’t have a question, they just stopped listening after “please raise your hand.”

At the Lincoln Memorial, to my considerable surprise, one of them got the answer to my quiz question as to why they built it, no doubt because there was $10 involved.

Seventh graders pay attention to food and money, nothing else.

At the end of one especially long day (The Longest Day?), as the inmates reboarded the bus, a parent said, “You are very patient” to which I said (to myself) “No I’m not, I’m just good at hiding it.”

As the perfect example of the overall level of discourse, one afternoon a hands-in-pocket, slouching fellow with a baseball cap jammed down to his ears said “I have a question.”

“Go ahead”, I said.

His reply, “I have to pee.”

“That is not a question”, I gleefully replied.

They drove me a little nuts but we had fun.







  • Susan Nestleroth says:

    As your companion in tour guiding that day — leading a much easier-to-manage busload of adolescent girls from the same school– I must say I was impressed with how you handled your “exuberant” young friends. After all was said and done, I think the kids will go home thinking they had just said goodbye to one of their “coolest” guides ever. I have a feeling they will enjoy the benefits of their time with you long after you’ve forgotten the special challenges of staying positive and energetic for them over those four long days.

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