NETHERLANDS: The Associated Press is reporting that fourteen year old Laura Dekker, whose parents are divorced, is the subject of an unwanted guardianship proceeding in the Netherlands. It is not the divorce of her parents that is at issue, however. That is not why child welfare services in the Netherlands have imposed a guardianship over the girl. They have done so because she wants to be the youngest person to sail around the world solo, in a yacht, and the agency simply doesn’t think she possesses the emotional maturity to take to the high seas all by herself. Interestingly, both her parents support Laura’s ambitions and have no problem with their fourteen year old battling waves, sea creatures and pirates on her quest to sail from the Netherlands to the other side of the Earth.
You would think that after the Abby Sunderland fiasco (Austrialian military had to rescue Sunderland, a California 16 year old, from the high seas, after she lost control of her boat in the Indian Ocean), that Laura Dekker’s parents would act more responsibly and forbid their daughter to take this dangerous journey. It’s called parenting. Be a parent. Say no. Not every ambtion a child has should be encouraged. Especially not when other countries and resources may be called to rescue her if something goes wrong. It is totally irresponsible of parents to not put their foot down on something like this. It is selfish too, because they are thinking just of the fame and possibly the money that will come from merchandizing deals if Laura is successful. But what if she fails? Then tax payers of any country in between her itinarary will have to foot the bill for her rescue. This is not right and this gives tax payers of any country a right to say this should not be done. Heck, it gives me the right to put in my two cents worth because you know what? If something happens then they are going to stress my ass out about it on the news till she’s found. Sending a 14 year old female to the high seas in a yacht in search of fame and world records is tantamount to parental neglect as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care how good a sailor she is. That is not the bloody point. Further, the state (or government) of the Netherlands and any other sensible country should outlaw this. It is right up there with child brides and stoning women to death for committing adultery. It’s shit. You hear me? And it should not be allowed.
UPDATE: August 4, 2010: The Guardianship has been lifted and this child has set out to be the youngest to hold the world record for circumnavigating the world. I’m just shaking my head on this because I really think it is tantamount to parental neglect. But maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m wired a bit tight. Check out the story from the AP here.