Monday, March 11, 2013

The Greatest Ambassadors

I've known for a long time that I wanted to raise kids on a cruising boat, at least in part.  I once read an article by a cruising family that likened children to ambassadors.  The particular cruisers who'd written the article had sailed around the world with their kids, and found that having children enriched rather than hindered their experience.  "They open doors everywhere..." they wrote, "they are the world's greatest ambassadors".  It is so very true.

Turns out, baby's are fantastic equalizers.  Everywhere we've gone we've been welcomed warmly by locals who immediately turn to mush at the site of Isla.  We've seen even the hardest looking men turn into smiling, cooing, peek-a-booing teddy bears with her.  In return, it almost effortlessly opens up the lines of communication and breaks down the "tourist/local" wall.  Suddenly, we're just a couple of people with a baby.  I can't quite put my finger on why this is exactly; other than it's seems to be a commonality and something that makes us more accessible.  There is instant solidarity.  It's pretty cool.

The most incredible thing is how easy it is for other children to find us and immediately take to Isla.  She LOVES kids of all ages and lights up at the attention of fellow little ones.  The other day we were in the grocery store and put Isla down to practice her recently learned skill of walking and before we knew it, we heard squeals of delight coming from around the corner.  She was playing with two little local girls and having a blast.  They'd run and hide from her, crawl around on the ground with her and urge her to walk to them.  It was adorable.  We stayed at that little grocery store for about thirty minutes chatting intermittently with the owner and letting Isla play, it was magnificent to watch.

"No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure." 
- Emma Goldman


Carolyn Shearlock - The Boat Galley said...

Our boat cards list Paz as our "Goodwill Ambassadog" -- not quite as good as a baby but amazing what a small friendly dog did to open doors with kids and "little old ladies." Even had one guy ask to rent her for $20 for an hour as a "chick magnet" on the beach . . .

Over and over, we saw cruising kids connecting with all sorts of people. Love the pictures!

Lisa Hanneman said...

You totally nailed it.


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