Why I Sail the World With My Child

Diane Selkirk defends the 'Rebel Heart' sailing family
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2014 1:19 PM CDT
Why I Sail the World With My Child
This undated image provided by Sariah English shows the Rebel Heart sailboat.   (AP Photo/Sariah English)

Diane Selkirk has heard the criticism of the Kaufman family, who decided to sail around the globe with their two young children only to see one of them fall ill and need to be rescued. But on Slate, she explains why "adventure sailing with young children," while risky, is "the best way I know how to parent." She and her husband, too, are raising their daughter largely at sea; at 12, she's "put in more sea hours than shopping hours and is more familiar with the stars in the sky ... than the ones in the tabloids." She and other "cruising families" support the Kaufmans (and Selkirk is actually friendly with Charlotte Kaufman), and are trying to raise money to help them since their disabled boat was ultimately lost.

Yes, the lifestyle can be dangerous, and maybe some think that makes it "reckless," Selkirk writes. But the benefits outweigh the risk, she argues. "Most of us boat parents chose to embark on voyages with our kids not because they’re inconveniently along for the ride but because we’ve made an intentional choice to share the journey with them," offering them adventures from seeing the Northern Lights to snorkeling with sharks to learning different languages. Research has shown that those early experiences can benefit kids later in life. "Yes, there is risk involved in daring to show her the world—but the alternative, the one where we never share our passions with our child and never show her the value in pursuing her own, seems far more dangerous." Click for Selkirk's full column. (More parenting stories.)

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