I’m completely fascinated with the recent story of Abby Sunderland’s rescue from her damaged sailboat while attempting to circumnavigate the globe.
Here are the parts that I find most shocking:
She is 16!
She was in a sailboat, by herself, in the stormy Indian Ocean!
She was stranded for three days!
And what about her parents? The New York Times reports that “Mr. Sunderland praised his daughter’s skills as a sailor. He said he not only would let her try the voyage again, but would also ‘absolutely endorse that wholeheartedly.'”
Under what circumstances would I allow one of my children to attempt such an endeavor? Over my dead body. That’s when.
To be fair, one of my biggest weaknesses as a parent is my difficulty in letting my children take risks. I’ll admit that I am at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum from Abby’s parents. I don’t let Katie play in our fenced-in yard by herself. I don’t let her eat grapes unless they are cut into four pieces. I won’t leave the room if she’s bathing.
They let her attempt to sail around the world. Alone. And, I’ll repeat it, she is 16!
While I admire parents who allow their children the freedom to explore their world, I can’t comprehend the Sunderland’s decision to allow their daughter (and their son, who attempted the same journey last year at age 17) to take such a risk.
There has to be a happy medium doesn’t there? Remembering to find a balance is something that I work on every single day.
I participated in a parenting webinar last week offered by Tiffany from Bloggy Moms and conducted by Amy from Positive Parenting Solutions. One of the biggest things that I walked away with was the idea that children need to know that they belong and that they are significant. Amy inspired me to allow Katie to take on tasks that I had previously done myself, to either save time or because it hadn’t occurred to me that she could do them on her own. She’s now setting the table, helping to empty the dishwasher, and thanks to Jen, over at Denton Sanitorium, she’s also sorting laundry. (Jen is an inspiration, across the board. I am constantly learning new things from her.)
Thank you, Tiffany, Amy, and Jen!
While I applaud the Sunderlands for encouraging their children to take on challenges, I can fathom neither the magnitude nor the danger associated with their choices.
Anyone want to share their thoughts with me? Do you agree with the Sunderlands choice? How much risk is too much?