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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Friday, May 21, 2010

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.


Jo said...

I would never let my children do what Jessica Watson did - but I hadn't looked at it the way you have talked about it - but I agree with you completely - she will be wealthier than her parents within weeks (might already be) and then they will not be able to stop her. What happens when all the fame wears off - what next?

If I sent my eldest sailing he would get lost (as he does in his car) and call me to give him directions!

I was wondering about her schooling - this is never mentioned.

Ruby said...

Hmmm.... stretching my brain this Saturday afternoon, Ganeida!
You would have to also wonder about the other children in the family and what they may wish to do. Can a parent say no after such a precendent?

On the other hand, when one considers that in by gone days "youths" attempted and achieved great exploits I believe the young people of today often do not have a lot expected from them. Thinking of young pioneer boys and girls who were married and raising families by sixteen.
Not sure on the whole thng. My chldren have been fairly regular thus far, as were there parents. No great goals and ideals that pushed the boundaries. I am boggled by my nieces and nephews who are travelling the world, climbing Everest, volunteering in the most desperate spots in the world.
I have to admit, I am probably hoping we don't have situations like a round the world voyage come up!!!

Ganeida said...

Jo: lol That's my Liddy. I have been on the phone with her, literally for hours, directing her through Brisbane! I think Jessica registered with the state Distance program for school ~ & was meant to do some each day. Unlikely. Skippering a boat is work, even on good days. Her blog records her doing some work & certainly I think navigation takes care of her math & geography's a given. Can she write off her blog & book as *English*?

Ruby: Yes inded, what about the other children? In all sorts of ways: emotionally, with the media, with their own hopes & dreams?

There is a reason we have a delinating mark separating children from adults. Children are to be protected so as to ensure the next generation. Sometimes circumstances necessiate children become adults earlier but research shows teen brains are underdeveloped in many ways so it only makes sense to wait till they mature before declaring their owners competent adults.

seekingmyLord said...

I think along similar lines with child stars. Children making more money than their parents ever did in many cases, so they can buy pretty much whatever they want, with people practically worshiping and enabling them everywhere they go. Of course, as I child I thought it would be great, but as an adult I see fame as very, very damaging at nearly any age, but certainly worse for the younger. Yet, here we are, you and I, raising girls who are very artistic and natural performers, whose livelihoods could be dependent on fame, hopefully they will always see it as a means to glorify the Lord.

Ganeida said...

Seeking: You know I agree. We share a mind. ☺ It is the most worrying aspect of what drives Ditz for me. It is a world that is all *All About ME* ~ & we both know that's not true. The thing I really appreciate about where Ditz learns is the emphasis on turning out *workers* as oppossed to *stars* There are too many stars as it is.

Amanda said...

Great points as usual Ganeida ;)

Fame and fortune: the doorway to the deadly deception of thinking more of yourself than you ought.

I too was thinking of her siblings... they must be feeling quite inadequate right about now...

Anonymous said...

Jessica Watson's parents will undoubtedly continue on the path they have followed so far with Jessica.
In every aspect of the planning, preparation and carrying out the massive undertaking of Jessica's trip, she and her parents have had to work closely together. They will have required co-operation, trust, and respect as they have considered and analysed the risks, challenges and rewards. They have helped her to make huge decisions and have allowed her to deal with the consequences of her decisions.
I can't think of a better basis for their future!

Rosa Lindo, from New Zealand

Jo said...

I heard that a 13year old (with others) climbed Mt Everest in recent days - that's so young.