In Milwaukee, Sailing is a Family Thing Again

August 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

First published in the Windcheck Magazine

Ever wonder why all of your sailing friends are about the same age? Or why fewer people seem to be sailing these days?

Quick, on one side of a blank piece of paper make a list of the top three things that you think kids do in the summer months when they don’t have school, in order of time spent, most first. Don’t think too hard. Just write the things that pop into your head.

Done? Good.

Now, on the other side make another list, this time name the top three things that parents do in the summer.

If you’re like most Americans, your lists may look something like this, and they explain a lot.

Kids

  • Playing Soccer (or baseball)
  • Hanging out
  • Playing Video games

Parents

  • Working
  • Taxiing kids
  • Getting the house in order

Most of us will astutely observe that kids do their own things and parents work a lot. Common variations are easy substitutes (like baseball for soccer or vice-versa) and order of importance. In fact, modern time-use studies sourcing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data confirm intuition, but produce even more disappointing lists:

Kids

  • Playing video games and consuming other media (up to 60 hours weekly)
  • Hanging Out
  • … and a distant 3rd… Playing structured sports

Parents

  • Working (up to 60 hours weekly, including the commute)
  • Taxiing kids
  • Consuming TV and other media

This is the American Family in the 21st Century: Kids in front of screens, segregated from parents and mentors who are in cars and cubicles. When outside, kids are within the tight confines of a team-sport. Parents generally don’t get outside. They are working their tails off, and when not working, are coordinating kid schedules or decompressing on the couch.

See sailing anywhere in the mix?

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