Originally Posted by annakiss
I'm starting to really think that the "social needs" angle is quite valid. Given media attention, the possibility of confronting others on the sea and at port, and the onset of puberty, I can see that for most 13 year-olds who grow up in a modern culture, there is a strong chance they may not have the experience or wisdom necessary to confront new experiences in a completely healthy manner. I think that it would be a challenge in more than a physical sense and as a parent, I can't see not feeling compelled to protect my child's emotional future.
We're freaks among freaks in my family, but normalcy for my kids is still really important to me. The tumultuousness of pre-pubescence and pubescence itself seem enough to create some stunted relational abilities from this sort of exercise. As a parent, I just wouldn't be sure it was worth the risk. The very idea of confronting a pirate attack at a young age - even if it were far-fetched - is like sending your child to the wolves.
The earlier comparison to the naval captain is invalid, I feel. It'd be like comparing this child who grew up in a relatively stable, modern home (presumably) with child laborers of the late 19th century or before or even the child soldiers in Liberia. Throw them into that situation to face danger, hunger, and loneliness and you're practically begging them to have difficulty finding normalcy in later life.
As the girl herself, I could see hitting 30 and totally resenting it.
I would resent not having the opportunity. Why is normalcy so important? There are tons of adults who resent the boring life they lead at 30, who've never had the chance to pursue their dreams, because someone told them that wouldn't be able to support a family, or whatever else was the expected ideal for a 30yo.
I wonder how many objectors would also object to the mother who let her 10 yo navigate his way home on the subways of NYC by himself?
The comparison to the 12 yo admiral is just to say that "kids" are completely capable of managing life and death decisions. At the age of 13, many girls were considered completely capable of being married, raising children and running a household. They made all sorts of difficult decisions all the time.
I think if she is well prepared, well trained and has the passion to do it, then she should with full support. In this day and age nobody is ever really alone. Satellites are tracking everything, and can see to the level of your license plate. So what's the point in waiting? The risk really doesn't decrease as she gets older, the ocean doesn't care how old she is. Yes, she's young, so it'd be tragic if she dies, but at least she followed her passion. But is it any less tragic if she were 20? or 30? or 40? Is it really better to live a long life of mediocrity or quiet desperation? Do most adults regret the risks they avoided or the opportunities they never followed? I don't know how many adults I know who say that they rather would be doing something else, but some adult told them that that was too risky or not going to be financially lucrative or some other lame reason to suppress the greatness within that child.