Tag Archives: In the news

Is sailing around the world with toddlers ‘reckless parenting?’

Eric and Charlotte Kaufman with their daughters, Lyra, 1, and Cora, 3. (AP Photo/Sariah English. File)
Eric and Charlotte Kaufman with their daughters, Lyra, 1, and Cora, 3. (AP Photo/Sariah English. File)

The Kaufmans are possibly the most talked about family in America. The family of four were recently plucked from their sailboat, The Rebel Heart – their home for the past seven years as they sailed around the world. The boat had lost all its steering and most of its communications six days ago, and was taking on water when rescuers found the stranded family. Making the matter most crucial was the condition of their 1-year-old daughter, Lyra, who was feverish and vomiting from possible salmonella poisoning. The family arrived in San Diego today, and will be taking time to recover before talking with the press.

See the full story here.

The fact that Eric and Charlotte Kaufman, parents of Lyra and her 3-year-old sister Cora, were sailing around the world with such young children is causing a passionate debate among families across the nation. Some are accusing the Kaufmans of reckless parenting, putting their young children in peril by staying at sea when they began having children. Others are applauding the young family for taking on such an adventure.

My take? Every family is different, and every family has their “norm.” For the majority of us, sailing around the world is not something that would be normal for our family. But for the Kaufman’s, they were sailing before the kids were even born. Those children saw being at sea as every day life. It’s no less normal than the families who live in huts in the middle of a jungle, families who have only one parent, kids who live in the projects, kids who live in mansions…. (speaking of which, you should check out the photo project of “Where Children Sleep” by photographer James Mollison for an eye-opening look at the economic differences in families around the world).

This was what the Kaufman family knew – sailing as a way of life.

And bad things happen in families, things we don’t plan for. The Kaufmans didn’t plan for their boat to break down, or for their toddler to get as sick as she did. Houses can burn down, leaving a family displaced. Pipes can break, roofs can leak, homes can be burglarized. Kids can catch colds, catch pneumonia, catch cancer. It doesn’t matter whether a family is on a sailboat around the world or cooped up away from germs in their home. The unplanned can happen.

Did being at sea make it more difficult for the Kaufman family to receive adequate care? Sure. But should they have stayed close to shore once they had kids? I don’t think so. Having been sailing for so long, I don’t believe the Kaufman’s were guilty of reckless parenting. I believe they were including their kids in a lifestyle they had already laid the foundation. And I hope that when little Lyra recovers, the family is able to take to the seas once again.

What do you think?

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My thoughts on Paula Deen

In this publicity image released by NBC, celebrity chef Paula Deen appears on NBC News' "Today" show, wednesday, June 26, 2013 in New York. Deen dissolved into tears during a "Today" show interview Wednesday about her admission that she used a racial slur in the past.  The celebrity chef, who had backed out of a "Today" interview last Friday, said she was not a racist and was heartbroken by the controversy that began with her own deposition in a lawsuit. Deen has been dropped by the Food Network and as a celebrity endorser by Smithfield Foods. (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer)
Deen dissolved into tears during a “Today” show interview Wednesday about her admission that she used a racial slur in the past. Deen has been dropped by the Food Network and as a celebrity endorser by Smithfield Foods. (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer)

Yet another company is pulling their business from Paula Deen, the Southern celebrity chef with a penchant for fried cooking. The tally is out, and as of right now, Sears, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Smithfield Foods, Caears Entertainment, Food Network, and…I’ve lost count…are sending back all the Paula Deen cookware, recipe books, and other Deen products, as well as nixing her spokeswoman relationship in response to Paula Deen’s admittance that she’s used the “N” word in the past.

First and foremost, I do not condone any word that targets a group of people to make them out to be inferior to others. This applies to the “N” word, a word that has a lot of ugly history to it that goes way beyond the color of someone’s skin. This word is linked to how a race of people were treated in history, and brings up many feelings of anger and hurt over the unfairness of that time.

Paula Deen should never have uttered the “N” word. However, this attack against her has GOT TO STOP.

This has become a horrible case of public flogging. She made a mistake. We all make mistakes.

Imagine if everyone had to answer to their shortcomings in this huge of a way. We’d all be out of business, every one of us.

How about instead of raking Paula Deen through the coals, we instead boycott the rappers who sing lyrics that profoundly disgrace women, or the companies who entice our kids to become obese by adding cartoon characters to their sugary foods, or video game makers who create games glorifying torture and mayhem, or the movies that are all about gore and nightmarish visuals? How about companies put their energy towards the mass population of businesses who are holding our society back instead of jumping in on the attack against one woman?

I’m not even a Paula Deen follower, but I think it’s deplorable how she’s had to pay for a mistake like this. The definition for political correctness is seriously backwards when a woman has to pay this much over a word – regardless of the word – and much worse things are still deemed acceptable in our society.

10 year old babysitter

A 10 year old babysitter was arrested recently on child abuse charges.  For weeks prior to her arrest, she had been caring for a 23 month old girl and a 4 year old boy.  She admitted to grabbing the little girl by the hair, pulling her out of her crib and onto the floor, slamming her head in the bathtub, and kicking her – all during the seven hours she was babysitting one of the days.  She also hit the child with a plastic bat, a belt, and toys.  The toddler was taken to emergency care with severe brain injuries and a skull fracture, and it was discovered that the injuries that the child endured were inflicted over a period of time. 

There is so much wrong with this story, it’s not even funny. 

In case you didn’t catch it the first time…

A TEN YEAR OLD BABYSITTER was in charge of a 23 month old and a 4 year old.

A TEN YEAR OLD BABYSITTER was watching these young children on her own for several weeks, apparently 7 or so hours each time.

A TEN YEAR OLD BABYSITTER was abusing this child over a period of time and it wasn’t noticed.

A TEN YEAR OLD BABYSITTER was arrested on child abuse charges. 

A TEN YEAR OLD BABYSITTER.  TEN.

Frankly, I’m floored.  The whole story sends chills down my spine.  Just the description of the abuse is hard to read.  But when I read about a 10 year old being left alone for 7 hours to care for two young children?  I don’t even have words to describe the horror I feel about this.  I mean, we all know the stress involved with caring for young kids.  There’s the attention and entertainment they need.  There’s the meals they need prepared for them.  There’s the tantrums, the whining, the disobedience, the need to test limits, the natural curiousity of a 2 year old…  A 10 year old is not equipped with the maturity and the knowledge to be able to solely care for children of this age for long periods of time. And what if something goes horribly wrong?  What if the child starts to choke?  What if the child runs out of the house and into the street?  What if they need to be taken to the hospital?  What if the 10 year old is brought beyond their limits and they fight the toddler in ways their little bodies can’t handle?

The abuse this toddler endured was unspeakable. And if an adult inflicted these kinds of injuries on a child we would be read to string them up and persecute them.  But it was a child who did this – a child given responsibilities way beyond their years.  And now a child who has been arrested and remains in a juvenile detention center.

What about the 10 year old?