It sometimes amazes me to see which stories make national news. Sixteen-year-old Abigail Sunderland wasn’t even on my radar until I heard she was “feared lost at sea.”
As the story unfolds, I couldn’t believe any parents in their right minds would let a sixteen year old attempt to sail around the world. Did they think she was Christopher Columbus junior? Was she in search of new lands? Nope. She was trying to recapture the world record her brother Zak held for a short while.
When someone dared questioned her father’s reasoning for letting Abigail take off in a sailboat, he made an asinine remark about parents let their children drive cars although some of them are killed. Is it no different letting your teenager drive a car across town than it is allowing your daughter to take off in a sailboat around the world? At least if the car breaks down, you don’t have to call in helicopters, planes, and boats to rescue your child.
I vaguely remember a sixteen-year-old boy sailing around the world, but couldn’t tell you if it was Zak or the Briton that promptly took the title away from him. What I do know is none of the people raising these children deserve to be called parents.
Growing up in the sixties, if we wanted to do something wild and reckless, it was a given that we would be doing so without parental permission. One of my dad’s favorite sayings was, “It’s not that I don’t want you to have fun—I don’t want you to get hurt.” Then there was always the other one—“Because I said ‘no’.”
Abigail left on her voyage in January. Why isn’t a sixteen year old in school? She should be thinking about applying to colleges, not risking her neck for a world record. Had she completed the trip, the record would no doubt be broken by some other teen who thinks he/she is invincible.
Now, my sincere hope is that the Sunderlands have to pay for this rescue, which I’m guessing cost more than my salary for the next hundred years. As for Abigail, she should be grounded until she’s twenty-one.
Copyright (c) June 2010 L.S. Fisher