Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another Rant

I've been somewhat disgusted lately with the poor (in my opinion) decisions that parents make that the media glorifies. When talking about this, I've been agreed with in some instances, and told I need to chill out in others. See what you think.

First of all, let's just get the obvious stuff out of the way. Disgustingly large families and reality television. (John and) Kate Plus 8, 19 Kids and Counting, the Octomom. I don't care what the intentions of the parents were, be it money or showing the world how their families work. No one will ever convince me that these experiences are good for children. I have my own doubts about how parents in abnormally large families can provide the appropriate amounts of care and attention that their kids deserve, even when not being constantly filmed. But adding in the details of film crews, network deals, and sponsors and you have a full on mess that no doubt consumes a lot of time that parents should be devoting to their families. No amount of money can replace that. Shame on them.

Next is the related concept of child stars. It goes without saying that many children and youth are are put on stage and in front of the microphone, while perhaps talented and successful, often suffer from legal and drug problems at some point down the road. These young people are no doubt talented and I'm sure that in most cases, their parents are well-intentioned, thinking that they are allowing their kids to use their gifts while yielding a fortune that will provide the child with future financial security. My question, however, is whether or those things are worth exposing their children to the very adult world of showbiz before they are mature enough to handle it. I won't even belittle this with examples. Shame on them.

A name you may or may not have heard is Jordan Romero. Last month, Jordan, became the youngest person to summit Mt. Everest at age 13. Mt. Everest is by no means the most physically dangerous peak to climb, but the status of having bagged the highest peak on the planet causes people to sometimes make poor and even deadly decisions. In May of 1996, 18 climbers passed away, including 11 in a single day. These people are crazed. As a result, Mt. Everest has become grossly commercialized. So when it was announced that parents were allowing their 13-year-old to attempt this feat, I was disgusted. Yes, he was accompanied by experienced Sherpas and his father, but I don't think that any planning or precautionary actions can make up for putting a child in such a dangerous situation. Jordan summited and descended Mt. Everest safely, thank God. But knowing the potential risks, I think his parents would have been better off having him complete the journey when he was older and instead encouraging him to start working on his Eagle Scout project for now. Shame on them.

Most recently is the story of Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old American sailor. While attempting to complete a circumnavigation, Abby's boat capsized in the Indian Ocean, ending her journey. After 4 terrifying days, she was rescued and is now safe at home. In a nation where most states don't even give full driver's licenses to 16-year-olds, what made Abby's parents think that giving her a fishing boat and pushing it out to the high seas with her alone for several months was a good idea? Of course, they are talking about letting her try again. Shame on them.

How about we let kids be kids? If your kid has an extraordinary talent, that's great. It'll still be there when he or she is a grown, mature, good decision-making adult. I promise.

Keep It Real!


  1. Coming from a person who generally hates both thrill and risk, I agree with you completely. When I have kids, they wont use the toaster until they are 15.

  2. I think of the risks Jordan Romero was allowed to take similarly to the risks high school football players are allowed to take. Is the glory of the game worth a jacked up ACL/MCL for the remainder of your life? But in a wilderness context, the risks are much greater. While in the Kanab Creek Wilderness a fellow hiker dislodged a 2 foot diameter boulder. We were in a very narrow canyon and thankfully I was able to press half my body into an alcove, and raise my opposite leg to avoid the boulder breaking my legs as it passed. I was lucky. The point is, the variables are too great and the fame of bagging Everest is not worth your life. Jordan apparently has some motivational speaking aspiration, but come on, this is for fame.

  3. My child... I'm going to stop there, my children are going to have enough to overcome as it is.