I’ve always been a bit of an independent kind of
guy. When it was time to go to college,
for example, I packed some stuff into my car, kissed my momma goodbye, and I
drove the 250 miles north to Baylor University on the last day of the college’s
“Welcome Week.” I moved into my dorm
room, shook hands with “weird Danny” (my roommate), and settled in for class
the following Monday. When my sister
went to college two years later, it was quite different. The entire family packed her up, moved her
into her dorm, bought her furniture, carpet, food, and they all cried for hours
before saying their goodbyes.
I believe that my independence was inadvertently taught
to me by my parents who gave me structure, discipline, and “tough love” as a
kid. Two years after my first day of
college, I ventured to South Padre Island for Spring Break with some of my college
buddies. I didn’t call and ask for
permission, I was 20 years old and I knew I could handle it. We had a blast and we returned to school,
safe and sound.
Today, Spring Break seems to be a different sort of
“event.” These days, kids in high school
feel entitled to go off on their own
for Spring Break to places like Cancun, Cozumel, Padre Island, Aruba, etc. I can only imagine what my mother would have
told me, had I asked her (as a fifteen year old), “Can I go to Mexico for
Spring Break?” She’d probably still be
The onset of early
childhood maturity and entitlement isn’t necessarily a function of the
child’s true maturity and independence, as much as it is an outward expression
of mom and dad’s desire to show the world how “capable” their kids are. The problem is, the dangers in these exotic
Spring Break locales HAVE matured!
They’ve grown into a danger that is all too real. Abductions, murders, and rape have all
increased in the last few years. In
Mexico, a drug cartel actually gunned down two American families using
automatic weapons yesterday, less than a quarter of a mile inside the Mexican
If you’re considering a trip out of the country for
Spring Break, I urge you to be extremely careful. As a traveler who’s been to beaches all over
the world, I can promise you that there are beaches in America that are as good
or better than the beaches in Mexico or the Caribbean. Beaches in Puerto Rico, the Dominican
Republic, Cancun, and Cozumel all have two things in common, 1) They are
beautiful; 2) They’re less than a mile from some of the most impoverished
settlements in the Western hemisphere.
They’re dangerous for many reasons and even as a careful and learned
adult, I have no desire to visit them anymore.
Consider a ski vacation in Utah or Colorado. Consider beaches in Texas, California,
Florida, or Hawaii. These destinations
are often cheaper, always safer, and they’re patrolled and governed by U.S.
authorities with access to the best possible medical care and communication
infrastructure. Try calling your child’s
cell phone while he/she’s partying in a bar on the Isla de Mujeres off the
coast of Cancun, Mexico where the drinking age is a “loose” 18. See how well that works for you!
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