5 Reasons Why All Kids Should Sail BY: PAT REYNOLDS There might be nothing in the world that packs as many life lessons as the activity of sailing. It teaches teamwork, engineering, history, patience, oceanography, ecology…all in one fell swoop. Because of this, we believe every kid should learn to sail and here’s the top five reasons why. Feel free to add your own. 1. Balance This day and age it is extremely important to create balance between the natural world and the computer world. For those over 30 it is not such a reality (although many would argue that) but “digital natives” truly need to unplug and sailing is perfect for that. 2. Work Ethic Yelling at kids to rake the leaves or clean their rooms is something that needs to happen, but it is a bit of a bummer for everyone involved. Sailing is such a great way to teach work/reward lessons in an instantaneous way. It illustrates clear meaning and association for issues like organization and cleanliness. There is hard physical work to be had while sailing but it is a work that is gratifying and immediately shows its purpose, which is what short-attention-span kids can use. It also all happens with a great view. 3. Bonding With electronic communication dominating the worlds of young people, the possibilities of bonding are thinning. It has become a cliché that kids are always “in their screens,” but it is true. Every moment they are staring into this odd electric tunnel is a moment they are not connecting with the space that immediately surrounds them. This is another area where sailing can come to the rescue. There is no place where conversation, laughter and shared silence happens so easily as on a lazy day sail. A family working together to make a boat efficiently bound over the waves is nothing short of nourishing. There is time. Time to teach, time to joke, time to know each other better. Just do not yell at them, that ruins everything. 4. Systems This world is full of systems and seeing one as masterfully designed as a sailboat is valuable. Centuries of trial and error have gone into what’s aboard most modern sailboats and they are living breathing examples of incredible innovations all working in an intricate system that creates travel from a wind source. Reminding kids that this thing is kind of unbelievable might broaden their curiosity and encourage them to look at other systems and become better critical thinkers. 5. Adventure Instilling a sense of adventure in a young person is an important seed to plant. Sailboats are safe, but they are also a ticket to the wild unknown. Every kid who’s ever sailed into an empty horizon has looked out and thought, “What if we kept going? Where would we end up?” Sailing takes us away from the normal and plants us firmly in an environment unfamiliar and foreign. Outside of the boat we cannot even stand up in this world – we are essentially helpless. There is nature all around us that lives in a place we cannot even breathe. It is mind-blowing when you stop and think of it… and it is a place where a child can stretch his or her imagination. And that is a particularly good thing.