On the way to Denver International Airport this morning to send our kids back to college after winter break, I remembered a great No Regrets Parenting example from my own childhood. The #64 bus ran from west Denver at one end to Stapleton International Airport (which was replaced by DIA a number of years ago) on the other end of the route. The westernmost bus stop of the #64 was directly across the street from our house –from our front window we saw the bus come and go 20 or more times each day; the airport was the easternmost stop of the #64.
On special outing days, my mom would pack lunches and take my younger brother and me on the long bus ride to the airport. For a dime each. The #64 was not an express bus, so it stopped every 5-10 blocks, including multiple stops in downtown Denver which was about midway between our home and the old airport. On the way, we took turns sitting by the window, marveled at the 24-story downtown skyscrapers, ate our picnic lunch, and could barely contain ourselves thinking about the fun we would soon have at the airport. When the 2+ hour ride ended, mom took us to the outdoor observation deck where we sat forever, watching (and hearing and smelling) the planes take-off and land. Nothing was cooler than that. We had never been on a plane, but this was the next best thing.
Finally, anesthetized by the outdoor air, the plane exhaust fumes, and the wonderment at the Bernoulli Principle in action, we boarded the westbound #64 back to our front door. On warm days, we got an ice cream cone or Popsicle for the ride home.
I told our kids about the #64 on our drive to DIA today. And that the #64 is one of many reasons my parents should have No Regrets about our childhood. Parents and kids together, sharing ideas and laughs. A full day without TV. Total cost for the best day a child could have? About 30 cents per child, ice cream included.
I doubt the #64 still runs the length of Denver if it runs at all. But there are infinite equivalent experiences for parents and kids today. Stay tuned to this blog for lots more ideas, and put the No Regrets Parenting book on your nightstand to help you plan ahead for each day’s No Regrets Parenting experiences with your kids.