Rebel Heart: Why cruising kids are lucky


Fynn napping in the cockpit as we cross the Straight of Georgia

Fynn napping in the cockpit as we cross the Straight of Georgia.

I don’t often have a strong response to media. However, the recent events of Rebel Heart and the ensuing comments have really struck a chord. Everyone seems to have an opinion, and outside of the cruising community, they are mostly negative.  Even the CNN newscaster sounded appalled when he announced the daughter’s ages of 1 and 3. You could hear the criticism in his voice, if not his words.   As far as I can tell, criticism is in three main categories: 1) putting children’s live in danger 2) not being prepared for such a trip and 3) the cost of the rescue. Mostly people are outraged that the parents would be so reckless with their children’s lives. Other (American’s) object to the cost of the rescue and feel the family should foot the bill (note: the US Coast Guard does not bill for rescues, unless a hoax is involved). One commenter went to far as to suggest that is people are stupid enough to do something so reckless they do not deserve to be rescued.

What really gets me, and has inspired me to sit at this computer and write something no one will bother reading, surrounds the idea of risk. Families die in car accidents everyday, and no one says “Well serves them right, they never should have been doing something as risky as driving a car.”   People are appalled that these children could be subjected to such horrendous conditions yet ignore the millions of children living around the world in poverty.  It is the blindness that pulls at my heart. Blindness and fear of the unknown.

Cruising families are risk takers. Not because the act of sailing is risky, which it can be. They are risk takers because they decided to ‘screw their courage to the sticking place’ and dared to have a different life. They escaped the rat race. Cruising kids grow up with parents that are present, not on their phones or in the office.  Our culture pushes consumerism at us 24/7, suggesting that we are not good enough if unless we are buying the latest trend. And to buy the latest trend we must work more, work harder, and see our families less. Cruising families have said ‘no thank you, we don’t need things; what we need is each other, experiences and love.’  And as far as being prepared, any adventurer knows you can never be too prepared. And you can never be prepared for everything.

So before you pass judgment on other’s life choice, just stop and think. Are you judging because it is different from your own choices? Assuming you value your own freedom of choice, you must accept that others have such freedom too.  Things that are different or unknown can be scary, but try to see some perspective. The Kaufmann’s have a dream to give their family a different life. Their children are loved, cared for and nurtured. This is more than can be said for many children.

Fynn experiencing her first sail - a good starboard heel!

Fynn experiencing her first sail – a good starboard heel!

We only have one life to live. Or as Mary Oliver wrote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do, with your one wild and precious life?”