August 26, 2009

Should a thirteen-year-old sail around the world alone?

There's an old saying that it's easier to get forgiveness than permission.  The parents of a thirteen-year-old girl in the Netherlands are seeking permission to let their daughter take off two years of school to sail around the world by herself.  The government, of course,

... want Laura Dekker to be made a ward of court, so that her parents, who support her plans, temporarily lose the right to make decisions about her.

Laura's father, Dick Dekker, has had a request for her to miss two years of school turned down.

Laura had a yacht by the age of six and began sailing solo when she was 10.

"Since I was 10 years old, I've known that I would like to sail around the world," she told Dutch television.

"I want simply to learn about the world and to live freely."

Her fierce desire to live freely went in the opposite direction the moment she asked for permission... and now she finds herself on the verge of state imprisonment.  There was a time, when the world was less civilized, when teenagers had much expected of them.  Today?  Today not so much. Today you're a child until you're in your 20's.  A thirteen-year-old girl sailing alone around the world is a scary, scary thing.  What would any of us do if our own children asked for this? 

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