Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up. ~ Robert Frost.
One of the first things you learn as a parent, particularly as the parent of teens, is: never ever cede ground unless you are absolutely certain you can afford to because you will never get it back. It makes for cautious parents & rambunctious teens but there you have it. Never even hint you may cede ground because the pressure will mount in proportion to how big a hint it was.
So having ceded ground on so large an issue as their child sailing solo & unassisted around the world, how do Jessica Watson's parents parent her through the rest of her teens? Seriously. How do you now tell a child [ & legally she is still a child, technically not able to drive a car unsupervised, have a drink at the pub, vote or join the armed forces] who has risked her life battling 40 foot seas & been totally responsible for her own welfare for 210 days, that maybe her most recent decision is not as mature & reasonable as she thinks?
One thing is absolutely certain; Jessica Watson is not the same child she was when she sailed out of Sydney Harbour. She is older & has faced the sort of life & death situations many of us never face until we are much older. That does not necessarily make her wiser. Or more mature. Or even sensible. Teens mature unevenly. Granted, boys on the whole are worse. There is a very good biological reason why Jewish men weren't allowed to serve in the temple until they were 25 yrs old! I've had boys, & boys with more nautical experience than Jessica & I would tell you straight up, nothing in this world would induce me to get into a boat with any of my sons & sail around the world. Let's face it; I'm reluctant to get into a car with them.
This bothers me. I dread teaching Ditz to drive. She may surprise me but somehow I'm pretty sure I have her pegged right as a ditzy driver. Yikes! Mind you, I could trust her down to her bare skin to be cool calm & collected on any stage in the world. Jessica is one child & she has done an amazing thing but the stats still show that the majority of teens don't always make wise choices ~or have the experience to do well when things go catawumpus. That's why their car insurance is higher than mine. That's why more of them die on our roads.
I think Jessica's parents are now in an awful position. Their daughter now holds all the high cards: an independent income, a high estimation of her own self sufficiency, a she's been encouraged to pursue a completely independent course of action in something really big so why would she listen on smaller matters? How does she return to *normal*? And the fact is even those who have done great things have to return to *normal*. Not everyone manages it, & of those who do, not everyone manages it well.
Nah. Every way I look at it this whole venture gives me nightmares.