So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Sunday, September 28, 2014
Helicopter and Sailboat parents
Recently I had the pleasure of watching Maidentrip, the story of Laura Dekker, a 13 year old girl who wanted to sail around the world alone. It's available on Netflix streaming.
She was living in Denmark and the government didn't want to let her go. There was a 10 month legal battle in which the government tried to take legal custody away from her father. (It's all about protecting the children, right?) She won her case and left on a two year journey to sail around the world.
So there she was, a 14 year old girl on a 38 foot sailboat. There were no support ships. A handful of times family members flew out to visit her in various ports. It was a good story. Kids normally mature a lot between 14 and 16. Now imagine how a young person would mature during those years while sailing around the world. From the movie it was clear Laura was a kid who knew exactly what she wanted to do and had mastered the skills to do it.
Contrast that to children who were raised by helicopter parents. A kid with parents like that never get to make any important decisions alone. Can you imagine them weighing the merits of the different paths through the Indian Ocean? The northern route has better weather but the possibility of pirates. The southern route doesn't have pirates, or anything else except possibly really bad weather and giant seas. Thanks to cell phones helicopter parents stay in constant contact even through the college years, ready swoop in at the least hint of trouble.
Thank goodness I grew up before helicopter parents were a normal thing. While I didn't get to sail around the world at 14, my parents let me do a lot. I got to take open canoes through class III rapids alone. I went backpacking and camping without adults. I even went off hunting on my own. While it wasn't technically legal until I was 16, my dad allowed me to go We'd leave the hunting camp at dawn, and head off into different directions. We wouldn't see each other until after dark. That was hunting “with” dad. By the time I was 16 I had my own hunting license and could go totally alone.
My dad grew up a lot wilder than I did. He learned to be self reliant and saw the value in it. I probably would have had even more freedom as a kid, but my mom was pretty freaked out as it was.
So I feel a bit sorry for those kids who grew up with parents ever ready to smooth the way. At some point they will have to deal with life on their own and they lack the experience.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.