I have on a quiet sunday read this entire thread and although have not posted on the forum before felt that there is some room for additions.
1. This is not meant as an offence to any but I have found this thread shockingly U.S centric. It is very interesting to be able to read about education problems and raising families on the other side of the pond (I'm from London) but does however miss many important points. The idea that somehow children will be unhappy having to move around a lot is ludicrous in my mind, where in Europe
it is entirely normal to find kids from all across the world in the same classroom. My friends include HK and Mainland Chinese, Italians, French, Spanish, Indian, Russian and many others. This for me and these other young people is entirely the norm and nothing to be excited about.
2. Regardless if you live on land or on a boat a child's wellbeing and happiness depends on having loving parents who really care about what that child wants. One previous poster who described the sadness of being pulled away from situations he would have wanted as a young boy is not going to be the case if parents really listen to what a child needs and wants and takes those considerations seriously. I, for one, was lucky enough to have parents who treated my needs and wants with respect, regardless of my age. This did not mean I always got my way but instead made me feel that I was a part of the family in real decision making, which is important for a child's confidence.
3. Talk about whether a child will be conventionally successful in later life depending on whether they've had a 'normal' upbringing. One thing I can add to that is that a child aboard will be exposed to the opportunity of learning
more languages and I think its obvious that language is a key asset in navigating the modern workplace. Considering almost all high end shops here in London now have Mandarin speaking staff...
4. All of this surely centres around what a child wants/needs. It is very easy to ask, even from a young age - 'are you happy or unhappy?' and if they are happy keep doing what you're doing, if not - change. One of the main reasons children, especially teens despise education is because it is a) it is not about broadening their knowledge but instead pandering to an exam board and b) it is not delivered in a way that makes it fun to consume. I personally think boating
solves these problems - hate learning
Spanish? Go to Malaga and make friends with some locals!
One thing I keep in mind when I think of raising children is this beautiful piece of writing from Kahlil Gibran which my mother used to read to me.
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable."
Disclaimer: I'm 19, at university (SOAS) in London and do not have any children but have learnt much from the education system I was put through (british boarding school) and my wonderful parents (currently living in France)