Which experience will stick with my kids?

They stood in front of a screen that was bright green but they were confused.  My kids could see that they were standing in front of a green screen but when they looked at themselves on the television, the monitor showed them standing in front of a map of the United States.  Both of their heads swung back and forth from the television to the screen behind them and looked up at our tour guide, Kimberly, with questioning eyes.

From the front row of our tour, I could almost hear them talking to themselves.  My son would say, “Hey?!? How on earth does that work?”

“This is totally freaking me out,” my daughter would exclaim.  That is her new favorite saying and as she looked for me in the small crowd I could see it in her face.

This was the second stop on our Inside CNN Tour at CNN’s World Headquarters, the largest of 48 worldwide.  The first stop was a brief introduction and a little bit of information about how the shows are produced.  It was interesting to me after teaching Journalism I, which included a 6-week unit of broadcasting.  It seemed to hold my husband’s attention because he is actually a CNN (of the Internet variety) junkie.  Surprisingly enough, my five and seven-year-old children were captivated.  When I first found out that we were scheduled for this tour, I was a little concerned that much of it would be over their heads and not entertaining enough. Well, that is what I get for worrying.

My kids were beyond thrilled when our tour guide called them both up to show everyone how the green screen worked.  She grabbed a matching green sheet and threw it over their bodies so that only their heads were showing.  Then, she pulled the sheet up over their heads so it was almost like they were hiding under Harry Potter’s invisible cloak (at least on camera!).

As I stood there watching two of the people I love most in this world, I couldn’t help but get teary-eyed.  I know it sounds cheesy and I am typically not prone to emotional bouts but while they stood mesmerized in front of that green screen, my mind was racing a million miles a minute as I fast forwarded through their lives.  The mental picture included them in high school journalism and then behind a broadcast desk much like the one that we saw Kyra Phillips sitting behind. It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face as I wondered if this would be the one experience that clicked.

We are working hard to teach our children that they can be anything that they want to be (and that a backup plan is a healthy part of career planning as well!).  I wonder which of these things we expose them to will be the one thing to stick.  Which one of these travel and life experiences will make a lasting impression and guide their career choices later in life?

Who knows?  Maybe it will be that one trip to Atlanta where we got to pretend to be on CNN.

*Thank you to the Omni Hotel at CNN Center for covering our tour cost.  As always, all opinions are my own with no outside influence.


  1. 1

    It’s amazing the things that the kids remember over what you think happened.

    That’s part of travel, letting them remember what’s closest to them!

  2. 2

    That looks like a ton of fun. I’m pretty sure I’d have the same mystified look on my face while trying to figure out the green screen. I’ll be watching for your kids on CNN in a few years!

  3. 3

    We go out of our way to try to find unique and fun experiences for our young kids but I have to remember that sometimes it’s not the “things” we do, but the fact that we experience them together. Thanks for this great post. Sounds like you and your kids had a fabulous time!

  4. 4

    I agree with Marina about how what kids remember from travel experiences is often very different from what we expect. Like Megy says, simply being with family and learning together might be the most memorable part of travel for our kids, although they might not tell us that outright. It’s like asking your child about his/her school day — often, they don’t remember or can’t tell you what they did. But they’re learning, nevertheless. And some experiences need to be mentally and emotionally digested. I think the best lesson for us parents to keep in mind is that we don’t own our kids. They are gifts that pass through our lives and what they ultimately make of their lives is up to them.

  5. 5

    I agree that sometimes just the experience is what the kids remember. It will be neat to see where their travels take them in the future!