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Re: The next generation

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Posted by Alex Forbes on September 19, 2017 at 17:39:04 user Pitsligo.

In Reply to: The next generation posted by MarkD on September 19, 2017 at 07:08:16:

Three cheers for you, MarkD! I have no kids, want no kids (though haven't minded occasionally filling the role of Captain Flint), and I'm in the US anyway, so I doubt I have any worthwhile advice for you, but I'm pleased to read what you're trying for.

FWIW, I had S&A read aloud to me at age five, my first summer on a small island off the coast of Maine, where I would eventually spend the rest of my summers until I was 26. I then devoured the rest of the series on my own (I was a precocious bookworm), was taught to sail in a small boat (though I didn't solo until I was 10), and set out on a career of piracy and exploration. That included arming myself with a wooden cutlass (a toilet float cut in half makes an excellent guard) and burying sea-glass and beach-combed treasure every year in big tea tins --note: pacing off compass bearings is brilliant, but the length of a child's pace changes dramatically from one year to the next, so don't bury anything you'd be heartbroken not to recover. Post SW, it also involved a couple years of running compass bearings around the entire island --surprisingly, NOAA's charts are actually pretty accurate. My father still feels the best gift he ever got me was a 9' rowboat, when I was 9. I sailed from the English Channel to the China Seas in that dinghy, all without crossing outside the two-fathom line around the Island.

When I went to live with my mother, in the mountains of California, I promptly got in trouble when I chipped big holes in one of her favorite landscape boulders while prospecting for gold. I also got a lesson in safe bouldering after an adventure searching for cragfast sheep --you never knew; there might have been one up there!-- almost went badly. (As an adult, I eventually went on to instruct technical rock climbing and mountaineering.)

My point is that once the S&A match was lit, with the right encouragement and with the right landscape it was a self-sustaining combustion, and ignited my imagination in whatever environment I found myself. Make your kids the offer to enjoy it, and then enjoy it with them, and I expect things will go very well.


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