Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)
With youngest son’s graduation behind us, husband and I felt like Superbowl champs. So in keeping with Superbowl tradition, where did we head? Disney World! Well, actually, Epcot, but close enough. Friends invited us on a motorcycle trip to the Magic Kingdom to see the flower and garden festival. I was reluctant to go for two reasons. First, it was Memorial Day weekend, a notoriously crowded and hot time for a theme park. Second, Disney will never live up to my childhood memories so I am reluctant to go as an adult. You see, my father helped to build Disney World. He was president of a construction company that did much of the waterfront and structural work at the parks. When I was a little girl, we went to the only skyscraper hotel south of Orlando on what would become International Drive. There, with a few hundred other people, we sat in a large banquet room and watched a film about Walt Disney’s dream for a city of the future and heard Roy Disney announce the plans for Walt Disney World. I wasn’t really impressed until my dad got free tickets to pre opening “dress rehearsals” at the park. Then, I quivered with excitement as we made the trip up and along the sweeping entrance to Disney World. We were treated like royalty on that visit and many others as my dad often received free passes for admission, meals, special entertainment and souvenirs. Growing up, trips to Disney World were like visiting our own personal playground. We knew every inch of the park and how to maneuver our way through and make the most of our time there. My father always approached a trip to the Magic Kingdom like a general marshalling his troops so we learned from the best. Now, as an adult without those free tickets and backstage passes, I still feel that imaginary clock ticking in my head when we go. I know all about fast passes and heading in a counter clockwise direction contrary to the crowd which oddly always heads to the right. As much as I try to stifle that urge, give me a map of Disney World or Epcot, and I can plan a route down to the second so that we can ride every ride, see all the shows and arrive at the best restaurants in time for meals. My husband always laughs at me, but our friends were in awe. I gave them the option of meandering through which would have driven me crazy, but I would have tried. They let me be in charge, and we didn’t miss anything and did not have to wait in one line. I couldn’t help but feel like a genius. Yet, it was all in the way I have been taught. We teach our kids everyday sometimes, on purpose, sometimes by accident. I learned a lot more from my dad than how to navigate a theme park. What are you teaching your kids today?