“Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings.” ~Hodding Carter
When I was a youngster, my parents routinely put me “in charge” of different elements of our travels–navigating London subways with my postcard-map in hand, or selecting which whale-watching boat to charter from the Cape Cod jetty. I realize now that my parents didn’t need me to perform these tasks, but my active involvement gave me a sense of responsibility and personal investment in our travels. I’ve applied this lesson with my own children, regularly putting a 10-year-old at the head of a backpacking troupe with topo-map and compass and the title of “Navigator” for the excursion. If they imagine themselves to be indispensable (as if Mom didn’t know which way to hold the chart), well, that’s fine with me. All seven of our kids now comfortably navigate travels of their own, from the second-grader biking to school to the adults with their own “Captain Kids” in the lead. Ours is a clan with a happy travelogue of shared memories.