Sailing a sailboat with small children, young families living in another country as expats, homeschooling while living in an R.V. , traveling with kids around the world, these are all examples of what I call adventure parenting. There are more of these families than we may realize. I think it sounds a bit glamorous, dangerous and well, enticing.
I hope that when people critique my value as a parent they understand that even though our parenting styles and safety comfort levels may differ, that we do have a basic fundamental ground rule in common, which is to do what we feel is best for our children. Parenting is hard and parenting is a gift and it is similar in my mind to religion. Most all religions want to create a united family to better the life and spirit of its followers, strengthening and supporting the people while moving toward a greater good. This is similar to all parents. Parents of all walks of life and parenting styles all want their children to grow up happy, educated, and loved. It’s how this is done that turns parents against each other just as the differing names of god used in different religions can divide the most spiritual.
I don’t know which religion is right for everyone. I know what works for me, that I feel comfortable in its beliefs and that it helps me help others and be a better person. I cannot say that what someone else believes is wrong because I am not them. I assume that they believe in their religion for the same reasons I believe in mine. Personal ones. This also goes for parenting. People are quick to judge. The Kaufmans unfortunate sailing emergency is a recent example. These are loving parents who want the best for their children. Was wanting to sail from Mexico to New Zealand more dangerous that driving the Pacific Coast Hwy from Seattle to Disneyland? Flying to Europe? Riding the sand dunes on a 4-wheeler in Oregon? I don’t know. I think all of those adventures could be dangerous, because accidents happen. Sailing emergencies, car accidents, plane crashes, four-wheeler disasters. Unplanned mishaps that we as parents in our heart of hearts hope do not happen. In life we measure the risk against the reward. And often our judgment of risk vs. reward is in the eye of the beholder.
I wish that parents would support each other instead of pointing fingers and looking to blame. Parents like Eric & Charlotte Kaufman (of the sail boat Rebel Heart), Stephanie Bernhagen (who wrote Take Back Your Life, travel full-time in an R.V), Tsh Oxenreider (who discusses her life experiences from an expat in Turkey to a small town Oregon resident in her book Notes From A Blue Bike) and the 30 families of World School Adventures (traveling slow with the little ones in tow and letting the world be our teacher) are all in my opinion wonderful parents traveling their hearts path with the best intentions for their children. They should be applauded not scorned. They are brave and they are real and they are living the one life that we are all gifted to the fullest. Meaningfully. I hope to someday have one-third of their spirit and head out on a family parenting adventure of my own ❤