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Travel Parenting by Fritz Blackburn

You can send your kid to school, buy her a cellphone and hope for the best. Or you can travel deserts, forests, oceans and mountains and watch her learn what she really needs. You can discipline your child – or you could allow freedom and nature to bring out her potential, animals to teach respect, and exotic cultures to show the common denominator of what is essentially human. 

For a child to learn not only accepted facts, but to think for herself and to be emotionally and spiritually competent, more is needed than conceptual programming as schools do it! A child needs to feel freedom to know freedom, to experience respect to become respectful, and to feel personally responsible for walking her own path! 

Children need to learn from real life, in real ways, not just copy what is suggested by their own culture!

When fully under their own steam as travellers, children can become heroes! They can invent their own action movie and their own fairy-tale, and experience self-respect as valuable and competent members of various groups rather than just by “their” culture alone! Respected children make competent life choices! They are authors of their actions and their mental and emotional development. They know active discipline, because they are not passively “disciplined”. They keep their dignity!

Parent and child can then become a team where everybody learns and grows, not just the child.


The most effective way to parent a child lies not in any fanciful psychology or brilliant strategy, but in delegation, particularly in delegating to the wisdom of Nature! We simply can and do not know what children really need to evolve optimally towards all they can become, and we do not have the mental artillery needed to address those hidden potentials we mostly do not even suspect exist. Only Nature does! Completely! Some scientists may still see the existence of animals and plants as the result of coincidental, unconnected evolution of separate species, and as unrelated to human brain-development. This betrays a surprising lack of insight, shared still by many educational psychologists, which prevents most parents from making optimal use of what Nature, and particularly animals, could do for their kid.

I used to define intelligence as the ability to solve problems, which would probably make the ants of the Philippines the most highly intelligent life-form on this planet. Just try this: Buy your kids a mars bar and tell them to protect it from ants for 3 days before eating it! Watch the ants overcome every trick and manoeuvre your kid can possibly come up with around a nipa-hut! Watch the ensuing duel of wits unfold and prepare to be amazed at just how creative ants are and at how far they can stretch your kid’s creativity while motivating the hell out of her! First, your kids may try a few well-knotted plastic bags all inside each other. The ants bite straight through without losing much speed. Then they might, confidently still, tie the bag to fishing-line dangling from the ceiling. The ants recognize this as a pretty highway through heaven and have a road built up the walls and across the ceiling and down along the fishing line in no time! The kids then put the sweets on a plate into the ashes of the cold fireplace. The ants find a stick they put in place like a bridge, and cross over! Small dish inside large dish filled with water! The ants climb on top of each other until the living tower leans over and falls as a draw-bridge across the gap between the dishes! The rest cross the living bridge! There is no end to the problem-solving ability of ants, and for a clever kid to compete with a hive on equal ground is usually humiliating at first but always extremely rewarding in terms of humility and true understanding of the world.