Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Chips Off the Old Block (?)

by Stephanie Black

My fourteen-year-old daughter got to skip school on Monday morning. For her, this fact alone would be enough to qualify the day as awesome, but the day was rendered awesome beyond all awesomeness by the fact that she missed school to go to the zoo and participate in a discussion with Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned primate researcher. My daughter volunteers at the zoo as a Teen Wild Guide, and ten of the TWGs were chosen to join in the discussion with Dr. Goodall regarding a new chimpanzee observation program. This was an incredible thrill for my daughter, who would far rather meet Dr. Goodall than any movie star or pop music icon. Dr. Goodall even autographed the sleeve of my daughter’s Teen Wild Guide T-shirt. How totally cool is it to have a T-shirt autographed by Jane Goodall?

My daughter has always been interested in animals, in sharp contrast to me—I don’t have any pets, nor do I want any, nor will I allow any in the house unless they are in a contained tank or aquarium, and even then, the range of pets I would consider is limited. I sound seriously grinchy, don’t I? Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up with pets. My family did have a cat—actually a series of cats, but that’s another story—but that didn’t start until my older teen years, when I was close to heading off to college, and I didn’t have much to do with the cats. But my daughter loves animals and loves learning about animals. Next summer she wants to go to condor camp. She’s particularly fascinated by condors.

It’s fun to see my children’s interests blossoming, and it’s fun to see them exploring interests that are different from my own. My seventeen-year-old daughter has long been passionate about police work (again, in sharp contrast to me. I find police work fascinating in a theoretical sense, but I am one-hundred-percent Wimp and would make a terrible cop). My daughter was delighted to be able to skip the youth Halloween dance last week because she was at the police department, playing the part of perpetrator or victim in new officer training scenarios. They need people to play roles so rookie cops can practice dealing with different situations, and my daughter loves helping with this kind of thing. She’s also played a victim at SWAT training before (and I’m glad the huge fake bloodstain on the leg of her jeans came out in the wash). On Halloween, she went to the mall to dress as McGruff, the Crime Dog. Apparently this involves getting very warm inside the McGruff costume and getting mobbed by small children.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m getting excited about the Whitney Benefit Auction—too excited, in fact. (Help me, help me, I can’t stop bidding!). New fun stuff is getting posted regularly, so of course I have to keep checking back, looking for new treasures. And it’s a win-win—I get to feel good about spending money to buy fun things that I want because, hey, the money is going to the Whitney Awards, and I want to support the Whitneys. It’s a really fun way to support a good cause. Go to the Whitney Auction site and check things out. You can either buy items for the listed price at the Whitney site, or do it the fun way like I do and go to eBay and bid on the items. And keep checking back—more items are coming—and soon you too can have that heady feeling that says, “I’m the highest bidder!”


At 11/05/2008 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband was a Yuma Police officer for 26 years before he recently retired, and I can relate to how your precious daughter feels. I’ve walked more than a few miles in her McGruff paws when the shift sergeant couldn’t con anybody else into the costume. It’s was hot and sweaty, (especially in southern Arizona heat) but entirely too much fun anonymously playing a part and acting silly for a few hours. I’ve also played every kind of “bad guy” for the “cotton-ball shoots”, which were our officer’s yearly training exercises. I can laughingly say that I’ve “shot” my fair share of cops over the years, and lived to tell about it. Of course, one or two of the participants weren’t very good sports, and shot me just for the heck of it. 


At 11/06/2008 12:53 AM, Blogger Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Wow! Your daughter met Jane Goodall? That is so cool! And how awesome that she'd rather meet her than a rock star.

I can kind of relate. I'd be over the moon meeting Madeleine Albright. I'd rather meet her on a plane than Oprah!


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