Monday, April 15, 2013

Onboard with Gratitude

Gratitude Time

A former coworker I taught high school with had a truly tragic childhood, and in recent years, she has done a lot of traveling, writing, and healthy living from the inside out. Her writing has centered a lot on being grateful, so I’ve been catching the fever from her. There are a hundred ways to look at one’s life situation, and I try to see the positive aspects of my choice to raise my family on a sailboat, even on hard days. It's really not too hard...

Isolation can be very good!

  • I’m grateful that I don’t have to worry about bombs going off downtown.
  • I’m grateful that I can be grateful for things like strawberries. They’re so much sweeter when they’re scarce. You can’t imagine how my kids’ faces light up at the prospect of a mere peach.
  • I’m grateful that I can go days without touching land and weeks without riding in a car. For that matter, I’m grateful my kids don’t spend hours a day bored, commuting in a car. They’ve sailed hundreds more miles than they’ve driven (while sailing they can walk around, go to the bathroom, have meals, sleep in their beds, play with any of their toys, etc. without leaving home) and they know how to walk, ride a scooter, and politely refuse a ride. Still working on the 3 year-old’s swimming skills.
  • I’m grateful that I don’t have the temptation of cable tv, good shopping malls, or other useless drains on my time and money.
  • I'm grateful that when I see a beautiful sunset, it's not because it's laden with pollution. It's the real thing!!
  • Stars. Nothing like an isolated anchorage, surrounded by stars.
  • OK, OK, and I'm grateful for the app that tells me what I'm looking at when I point it at the sky! 
  • I’m grateful I don’t have to live near people who stink or disapprove of my life choices. I can always reset the anchor somewhere else.

Homeschooling rocks-- literally!

  • I’m grateful that when my kids have a question, they aren’t afraid to ask their teacher (me) or feel embarrassed by their classmates’ reactions (sisters can be very supportive).
  • I’m grateful when I know the answer, and proud to teach them that it’s OK if any of us is unsure or wrong at first. We aren’t afraid to “ask the googler.”
  • I'm grateful that my husband supports my efforts to raise and teach our kids instead of taking a lucrative job that might not promote happiness in the home. 
  • I’m grateful that I know other home school families who meet at the beach every week and have equally outlandish ideas about raising their children.  
  • I’m grateful I don’t have to drag myself and kids out of bed before 6:30, rush through breakfast, stress out about being late, dinghy in the rain, and so on and so on….
  • I’m grateful my kids aren’t learning obnoxious behavior from other kids on a daily basis.
  • I’m grateful that, since she has been learning at home, no one has told my older daughter she can’t learn a particular skill because she is too young, not ready, or not anything else. They are way too young to have their ambitions squashed!
  • I’m grateful that when we’re not too busy, we can go sailing, snorkeling, or hiking without the guilt of missing school. Some of our greatest academic feats occur after dinner or on weekends.
  • I’m grateful that on one seemingly unproductive day last week, I looked back and remembered that my kids learned how to fold sheets by watching and emulating the Dominican women of the Laundromat, and later that day a marine biologist swam up to us with a sea urchin in his hand and proceeded to give them a fun, interesting, and relevant lesson.

Off The Grid

  • I’m grateful that when power outages cripple the island’s homes and businesses, we’re sipping a cold drink while charging our phones.
  • I’m grateful that my kids know how to conserve water, turn off lights, only print what they really want, and so on. While it’s natural to want to give our children the world, it’s sometimes better when we can’t.
  • I’m grateful to not have to pay an outrageous local power bill. Homes and businesses all over are having their power turned off because they can’t pay the exorbitant bills.
  • I’m grateful that we have had the means to install a few solar panels and will be extra grateful when our wind generator is fixed.

My Captain

  • I’m grateful that I have a husband who hauls water via dinghy from the fuel dock to our boat every day and never once complains.
  • I'm grateful that he has always made home comforts aboard a priority for me.
  • I’m grateful for the way he steers the boat right up to a mooring with barely a hand signal from me up on the bow.
  • I’m grateful he bought the girls fishing poles and spends time on deck fishing with them.
  • I’m grateful that in new island situations, he has no problem grabbing our passports and finding the nearest grocery, laundry, and customs office.
  • I’m grateful for the thousands of boat worries he wears on his own shoulders because I’m not wise or helpful enough to know to worry about half of those things.

There are hundreds of other things I’m grateful for, but it's dark outside, I’m about to run out of laptop power, and I don’t want to put myself in a position where I’m tempted to become ungrateful. Goodnight, and I hope you, too, can find a few things in your life to be grateful for.