Thursday, June 17, 2010

Risk: The Combox Follow-up

The feedback on the Risk post has been fun to read here and on Facebook, and the "in person" discussions have been fruitful. Finding out that I am not alone, and that many of my friends also have husbands who are more reluctant to let the children go off on adventures, was eye opening. So I figured that rather comment in the com boxes, I'd bring the discussion up front on the blog here itself.

Heather, thanks for reminding us that children do grow up. Yes, they do. And that's a good thing.

Stef, Funny you should mention Do Hard Things. When I began reading it, I thought it might included stories like Abby's. Instead, the whole book seemed like an introduction to a book about teens actually doing hard things. The eponymous hard things turned out to be public speaking, working on a campaign, and things of that sort--the sort of things that are, frankly, commonplace in our homeschooling circle--rather than things that really challenge the teens. I see some value in the book for teens who are stuck in a rut of schoolwork and chores, but I was looking for something more. Perhaps listening to John Taylor Gatto's classic talk "Bianca, you Animal, Shut up" (the link is cashed...who knows how long it will be available?) raised my expectations. Check it out.

Melanie, Kris and others with husbands who are reluctant to allow teens to take risks, I wish I knew the answers. It often takes a good deal of discussion, reasoning, and the teen in question must demonstrate worthiness. Ha! It helps if the teen asks that reluctant dad for help planning the journey. If I come up with anything better than that feeble thought, I'll let you know.

Kathleen, I thought about pirates, and recalled the wonderful book, Dove, about a boy who sailed around the world alone over 5 years (published in 1965). He talks with the natives about historical pirates, and one gets the impression that they were still quite common. Pirates are no laughing matter, but they tend to be interested in something worth selling. I suppose they could kidnap a lone sailor, but I suspect they would be more interested in cargo, and Abby had none. But, yes...pirates! Ugh.

Carole...there are times when I just can't watch, especially if the risk involves heights.

Colleen (concerning the family asking for donations to tow Wild Eyes to port), I had not heard that until you mentioned it, but Don and I had discussed the insurance (he is an insurance guy) risks and the money involved. Scuttling the boat, while it seems to make perfect sense, especially when considering the cost and trouble of towing, might not be the most economic move, depending on the policy. And then there is the emotional cost: We saw a shipwreck on our beach a few years ago. The woman who owned the boat (as I recall, a 108 ft sloop) had just refurbished her and was taking her to a new port when the rudder dropped off, and she washed ashore. No one was hurt, but the boat was a total loss, except for salvage. The woman was a total mess (I don't blame her). Abby may not be ready to give up on Wild Eyes, which was her home for a voyage half way around the world. But donations? Seems a bit crass.

Teresa, as a mom of a young man who has flirted with the idea of a Marine career, I often wonder how parents of young soldiers, sailors and pilots deal with the worry and inherent risk. Funny, though. My husband who thought it was too dangerous for Trip to bike through NYC has no problem with him joining the USMC! Is there something he knows about the Marines that I don't? ;)

Janet, thanks for thinking of us. Yeah. It's just an adventure every day around here.

Alice and Allie, coming from you two wonderful raconteurs, your compliments are delightful!

Annette, I, too, have a few more reluctant adventurers. They marvel and dream, so I expect great things later.

Joann Estis...I know exactly what you mean!

I love you all!


Alice Gunther said...

Thanks, MacBeth. :)

Lindsay said...

This has been fascinating to follow. Thanks, MacBeth!

My husband has been in the Coast Guard Auxiliary for years, used to do search and rescue, and still teaches boating safety.

So, one thing we discussed about this sort of "risk" is the lack of consideration that you are forcing others to risk their lives as well. It is my understanding that the captain of the ship which rescued Abby was almost killed in the attempt! And yet, if a sixteen year old attempts this and fails as Abby did, there are scores of people obligated to risk their lives and contribute tons of time and resources to her recovery.

I suppose this goes beyond the question of age appropriate risk, but it seems an important consideration when making such a decision.

Carole in Wales said...

Thanks, MacBeth. And I join you in leaving those heights behind. Something about the edge of a cliff right at your feet...

MacBeth Derham said...

Lindsay, thanks for bringing up the "risk to others" issue. Sometimes we don't realize that when we engage in risky (or even not so risky) behavior, we put others at risk. Rescues at sea are particularly risky for all involved, and even the well trained can be injured and killed. I hope that my risk-takers prove courteous as well as courageous, and think of the consequences to others as well as to themselves.

Melanie B said...

I read Dove a couple of years ago and have been a huge Swallows and Amazons fan as well. I wonder to what extent those literary experiences shaped my reaction?

I suppose it's also easy for me as a mother whose children are all very young ( I guess that part wasn't clear from my comment. For us we're talking parenting theory and not reality. Not yet.) to think in terms of broad generalities: I want them to have adventuresome spirits. Since I've not yet come toe to toe with actual adventures other than daring climbs up slides I thought were a tad too high, I suppose it is easier for me to see the romance in the adventure and to discount the risk.