VIEW FROM THE MARINA: Healthy Marriages, Healthy Kids
Healthy Marriages, Healthy Kids
By Barb Hansen
March 1, 2005
Are you bouncing back and forth on confused seas? Does your internal compass swing wildly around? Dr. Lucy Loveboat can help calm your troubled waters. Here’s a recent exchange of letters between the eminent counselor and a bachelorette in Annapolis.
Dear Doctor Loveboat
I met this guy at a meet-up, one of those dating deals where you spend two minutes talking with 20 different men. I found myself face to face with this really good-looking, tanned, healthy, smiling, smart, vibrant guy. I asked him what he liked to do. He told me he liked to cruise on his boat. I’m not a boater. What should I do?
Anxious in Annapolis
Dear Anxious (Don’t be.)
Marry that man. Go boating with him. Bear his children. Involve your children in boating. It’s not just me saying this. Research backs it up. Boating makes marriages happier and kids healthier.
I call your attention to an online survey of 542 boat owners and 536 non-boat owners by Impulse Research Corporation of Los Angeles. The findings show that the boat owners reported higher levels of satisfaction in marriage and romance than non-boaters. Not only that, Anxious in Annapolis, but boat owners more than others rated their overall well-being, health, work, leisure, sleep and finances as “very good” or “excellent.”
That’s not all. Another study of 1004 parents asked them about the health and happiness of their children. National Marine Manufacturers Association, which also commissioned this survey, reported that the kids who boat are healthier than their non-boating kids physically and psychologically. They are more outgoing, more optimistic, more self-confident, more likely to be better team players and more likely to be leaders among their peer group.
The research also shows that boating kids are more likely to do household chores and help with cooking. They have more interests, participating regularly in eight activities compared to only four for non-boating kids. Another family bonus: boating children spend more quality time with parents, even in non-boating months.
Go for it, Anxious. You’re going to get to see an exciting side of life and perhaps a braver side of yourself. As your family grows and goes boating together, you’ll see your progeny absorb just the right mixtures of independence and discipline, courage and caution, brains and brawn. Boating does that to its people, the young and the not-so-young.
Safe boating teaches kids to do what Mom and Dad say. Boating with kids teaches Mom and Dad how to have fun like kids. Living on a boat teaches us to leave our Game Boys and laptops at home. Living aboard teaches us to get along and to enjoy each other’s company and special differences.
You’ll get to see your five-year-old excitedly watching a crab crawl across the sand. Is that not a mutually-exhilarating experience for mother and child? You’ll smile inside when you watch that little kid with muscles lower the anchor. You’ll shed a proud mother’s tear when you overhear your confident pre-teen on the marine radio asking the dockmaster about a slip for the night. You’ll be onboard when your teenager flawlessly puts your vessel into a tight slip or carries out his or her responsibilities during a bad situation on the water.
To paraphrase the credit card commercial, the experiences of boating are priceless. I’d say, priceless in two ways. One, your children learn and hone the skills of life. And, two, you get to see them grow into responsible, happy citizens.
Good luck to you, Anxious in Annapolis. Luck, yes, because none of these good things are guaranteed. You’ll still have to work at it. Yes, of course, of course; you should go on a few dates. But if you decide to marry this man and join the crusing lifestyle, you can take some comfort in the favorable odds that boating gives you.