We all want to give our children access to the best opportunities in life. For most parents it means sourcing the best schools, involvement in sports and/or the arts, commitment to social causes, close contact with extended family; a combination of many factors really.
When my kids were growing up I chose the neighbourhood we would live in based on what schools were nearby, I supported their passion of the week; buying the equipment and attending every sporting event from: basketball, volleyball, track & field, rugby (freaked me out that my son had to tape his ears down though so they wouldn’t get ripped off!) to my daughter’s rowing regattas at 6 AM. I was always grateful that neither of them was interested in playing hockey (too expensive for me) but the year my daughter was four, I did faithfully take her every Saturday morning, regardless of the weather (that means a lot when it is winter in Ontario) to her ballet class. When it was time for her recital I sat in the front row, watching my “little teapot” throw a temper tantrum while all around her the other “little teapots” showed off their handles & spout. Santa arrived with a snowboard and season’s pass to the local resort for my son one year, the snowboard season can last four or five months where we lived; for my son it was one day, when on his second run down the hill he broke his collarbone.
I bought the Girl Guide cookies, and followed discreetly behind when it was time to go door-to-door getting pledges for the upcoming Walk for MS. Every occasion warranted inviting grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousins and friends over to the house to celebrate. Quite often, an event wasn’t required to call a meeting of the clan—we just liked spending time together. Yeah, I wanted to give my kids a good shot at developing into well rounded, socially conscious, productive adults. I’m happy to report we survived the teen years and they are happy healthy adults living full lives with their chosen partners, and I even have three awesome grandsons in the mix now.
The thing is though—there is something I didn’t expose them to that I wish I had—experiencing life from a broader perspective.
Canada is known for welcoming people from diverse culture around the world, so my kids were fortunate to have many friends from many backgrounds, they were exposed to differences, but at the end of the day they returned to their own niche, a somewhat typical, middleclass, North American lifestyle. And while there was nothing wrong with that, anything outside of their norm was out of their comfort zone—mine too for that matter.
Not until I moved to Roatan, Honduras could I appreciate how much breaking out of the norm could have enriched my children’s developmental years. There are many Expat kids living on Roatan who are benefiting from a diverse perspective.
This past Friday the kids who attend Sandy Bay Alternative School held their Science Fair at Lands End Resort West End, I very much enjoyed their presentations; the range of topics covered many of the typical Science Project stuff, but with a Roatan approach. One involved studying how deep light can dive; of course it involved the student actually going diving to confirm his results. Another surrounded the properties of cooking oils and which are best for local foods such as plantains (sorta like a banana) which are a staple on Roatan.
Some studied the effects of using organic soils avoiding chemical fertilizers, and others focused on the effects of the sun, or participating in outdoor activities as appose to indoor activities—kids don’t spend much time indoors here.
More pics of the Science Fair can be seen here: Science Fair
On Saturday morning I had the great pleasure of interviewing two of the kids on the Roatan Vortex Radio Show. They shared their views of life on Roatan. One is eleven years old, originally from California, and has lived on Roatan for more than 6 years now. The other is also eleven years old, originally from South Africa, and has lived on Roatan for just a few weeks. You can hear what they had to say here:
Here’s what they were doing right outside the studio at Half Moon Bay Beach after the show!
May the Best Duck Win!
Sunday was the First Annual Duck Races at Infinity Bay Resort West Bay Beach. Oh my, what fun that was. The kids were raising money for the grade six graduation party and other school activities. The Roatan community came together to join in and support their efforts, local businesses sponsored prizes, and Roatan Radio broadcasted live from the event.
More pictures of the Duck Races can be seen here: Duck Races.