This thing about encouraging children to set “round the world” sailing and flight records does not smell right to me.
And I’m not the only one.
Abby Sunderland, the 16 year-old trying to sail around the world, is alive and well. But veteran Australian sailor Ian Kiernan echoed the concerns of others that she would be sailing through the Indian Ocean when weather conditions would be at their most treacherous. “I don’t know what she’s doing in the Southern Ocean as a 16-year-old in the middle of winter,” said Mr Kiernan, who himself has sailed solo around the world. “It’s just foolhardy”.
This is from mistermix at Balloon-Juice…
There’s a big difference between 16 and 7, but one common factor that this event shares with the death of Jessica Dubroff in Cheyenne, Wyoming is hubris about the weather. It’s one thing to let a kid sail around the world or fly across country. It’s quite another to let them sail during storm season, or force a takeoff as a thunderstorm is developing. If the adults in these kids’ lives can’t keep them from doing a risky thing, at least they should be able to help manage the risks and be a counterbalance against go fever.
I see this slightly differently. The adults, in these cases, are aiding and abetting the “adultification” of these children’s lives. Flying and sailing can be fun. Mounting a global assault on a world record is not fun, it is hard work. Jessica Dubroff was 7 when she crashed her plane during an attempt to fly across America. Seven.
I might be better and it would certainly be more developmentally appropriate to help these young people be the best kids ever, to help them maximize the virtues and benefits of their actual age rather than pushing them into dangerous adultish situations.