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Traveling with Children is Extreme

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Parents Choose Life of Child, Traveling Life is as Extreme as Any Other —

While riding through the mountains of Arizona on archaeology survey, a friend in the back seat of the truck began talking.

She talked about extreme parenting styles. She talked about Jehovah Witnesses not utilizing medicine or taking their kids to the doctor when they are ill. I think she may have meant Pentecostals, but that is irrelevant. She said what they were doing was child abuse. I nearly jumped into the conversation before being struck by the realization:

People are going to say these things about me. People are going to criticize my style of parenting. People are going to say that it is child abuse to raise Petra on the road, not providing her with a steady home, and for not rearing her within the bounds of institutionalized education. My parental style will be seen as extreme.

As extreme as those religious folks who don’t believe in the use of medicine.

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Wade from www.VagabondJourney.com
Western New York, USA, January 6, 2009
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But all parental styles are extreme. All parents domineer the early lives of their children. This is normal, a child lives the life of their parents until they become adults and choose their own Path. The parents choose what they feel is the best life for their children — the life that they chose to live themselves — and hope that it is good enough.

Wade and Petra in the Museum of Natural History in New York City

Wade and Petra in the Museum of Natural History in New York City

All parenting styles are extreme.

I believe solidly that it is no more extreme to raise a child traveling than it is to remove a toddler from thier parents to be sent to day care all day long. I feel that it is no more extreme for a parent to teach their child their skills and work than it is to send a kid to be rigorously and forcibly taught by strangers who are governed by heavey hand of The State. I believe that the young adult who has traveled the world, learned to speak a half dozen foreign languages, learned to write publishable articles, knows how to interact with people from different cultures, and who really knows about their world stands just as good — if not better — a chance at getting into a good university than a kid who has been mashed through the hambuger grinder of a USA high school.

Chaya and Petra in Grand Central Station

Chaya and Petra in Grand Central Station in New York City

To speak of parenting extremes, allowing your child to be ripped from their family to be indoctrinated and molded by a modern government is extreme for sure.

All children learn. Most children are taught. Not every persons life will be the same, not every educational set is appropriate for every child.

I will teach my daughter how to travel. I will teach my daughter how to look people in the eye and determine character with a single glance. I will teach Petra how to be independent and make finite decisions with snap of her fingers. I will teach my daughter to convert currencies without hardly a thought. I will teach her to quickly do math in her head to subvert being short changed. I will teach her how to not be ripped off, how to save money, how to make money. I will teach Petra how to look around in her surroundings and walk a path that keeps her safe. I will bring her to dangerous parts of the world and show her that the people there are not to be feared. I will teach my daughter speak foreign languages. I will teach her how to communicate with people from other cultures, the rudiments of self confidence, how to walk with her head up, how to read, how to write. I will teach her to believe only what she experiences, and not what she reads. I will teach Petra how to juggle. But, more than anything else, I will provide my daughter with the infinite bounds neccessary to teach herself, to explore, to look at the world she lives in face on and find her own Path.

Which will not be the path that thousands have walked before her.

It is true, I may never teach my daughter the quadratic equation, but who the f’ck ever used such a thing?

Wade and Petra at the VLA in New Mexico

Wade and Petra at the VLA in New Mexico

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Filed under: Travel With Family

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Polis, Republic of CyprusMap