Abby Sunderland… Jordan Romero… Dusty Howell… Jessica Dubroff (RIP)… Child heroes, or victims of stupid parents?
Abby Sunderland is everybody’s darling today. Found alive, she’s adrift in her sailboat in the Indian Ocean, 24 hours from rescue, with a broken mast that has her sail lying in the water. Abby is sixteen years old.
Less than a month ago, Jordan Romero, a California teen climbed to the peak of Mt. Everest, a test that kills experienced climbers nearly every year. Jordan is thirteen.
On March 16, 1996, Dusty Howell of Discovery Bay officially became America’s youngest known solo pilot. Dusty is eight years old.
On April 12, 1996, Jessica Dubroff, a student pilot from Pescadero, Calif., …was killed early Thursday when her single-engine plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Cheyenne Airport. Her father, Lloyd Dubroff, 57, and her flight instructor, Joe Reid, also died when the plane nosedived into a driveway. Jessica was seven years old.
So-o-o-o-o… would YOU send your daughter on a solo trip in a sailing vessel? Would YOU allow your thirteen-year-old son to climb a mountain that cripples and kills experienced climbers annually? How about allowing your seven- and eight-year-old children to pilot planes… with or WItHOUT adult copilots.
As much as we idolize these children, praise them for their uniqueness and courage, cheer their successes and mourn their failures as if they were our own… I consider this sort of excess to be child endangerment. Just because your child says, “Daddy, I wanna DO that.” doesn’t mean Daddy has to let him/her risk the only life available to that child. Sorry, kids… but no, you can’t! Not yours, so long as you’re mine.
I agree that all risk is relative. But I also know that all risk rides somewhere on a horse named Continuum. Wa-a-a-ay over here, the risk is minimal, and the danger associated with failure is nearly none. Wa-a-a-ay over there, the risk is extreme, and the danger associated with failure is extreme. In my view, these kids have all been sent far into the second category, by parents who do not understand that their judgment must sometimes substitute for the lack of judgment of their children.
What say you?