Our best parenting decision.

     "You've said your decision to go cruising was the best parenting decision you've ever made. Can you tell us more about that?"  
      - Carol F.

     Ten years after we decided to take them cruising, I see the impact on our childrens' formation even more clearly. At the time, though, we had no idea how the trip would alter any of our trajectories. What we were sure of was that we needed time together, wanted to travel and hoped to have more influence on our kids than their peers and mainstream American culture did.

     What do I see now? They have built strong relationships with each other and with us by working and playing together for so many years. They understand true responsibility -- for our family's safety, not just taking out the garbage. From their perspective, if we parents trust them with our lives, we also trust them to make solid decisions about their lives. That's been empowering to them.

     In terms of their education, boatschooling taught each of us about our different learning styles; we were able to adapt the curriculum to our kids' gifts and passions. James' dyslexia was a huge concern when I began to homeschool him in 5th grade. I think he would agree that he recovered his self-esteem and began to love learning again. The children are each independent thinkers now, and people often remark on their poise, maturity, and how comfortable they are around adults. They find ways to learn from everyone they meet.

     Our three young adults have a built-in sense of global citizenship, of participating in community wherever they land. They are compassionate about what it means to be a newcomer yet, as Avery recently wrote, "knowing so many different people and cultures convinced me how alike we all really are underneath."