Skip to comments.Abby's Odyssey: In Defense of the Sunderlands (Should they be blamed for this dangerous adventure?)
Posted on 06/14/2010 6:58:42 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Abby Sunderland's recent adventure has everyone questioning teen safety. It all depends one how one defines it.
Parents, where are your teenage daughters? They had better be "safe" at home watching the perverse antics of Disney role models like Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan on TV. Perhaps they're "safe" at school, where they are being educated about the sexual revolution, and in some states, being ushered "safely" by administrators to a clinic where the abortion procedure will be administered with you parents none the wiser. At the very worst, one can rest assured that even if America's daughters have ventured to a house party -- where the parents have purchased and readied all the alcohol and prophylactics -- never fear, because those parents have taken each attendee's keys. All are locked inside and "safe"!
In any of these cases, parents, hit your knees and thank God that your daughter does not run the risk that Abby Sunderland does. As far as I can tell, that is the ruggedly individualist risk of running roughshod, acquiring and exercising true grit, and cultivating a classical skill a tad more aged than cheerleading or speed-texting. The progressive parent asks: Is Abby Sunderland a teenage girl at all? Not a typical one: this aberration from the norm, and not any safety violation, is the true charge against Abby and the Sunderlands.
Cue the chirping sectaries in the news media; they're up. It's always a little strange -- and quite awkward -- when those relativists in the news muster enough moral sentiment, from time to time, to actually impugn someone. When they do so, it is never the right target. News folks have usually by that point stepped around dens of thieves and vipers to get to their next "fall guy": usually just a harmless, individualist soul not well-attuned to the drumbeat of liberalism. This is the case, no doubt, with the Sunderlands, whose foreheads are now feeling all the applied moral heat of the progressive-parent crucible, represented by popular news sources. Happily for the Sunderlands, progressive heat is rather tepid.
In a befuddling combo, society mavens prescribe both naturalist coddling and sexual prompting for our daughters. While the progressive approach to parenting has usually sounded that "children should make and learn from their own mistakes," stalwart young Abby's adventure has proven that liberal parents mean this only in the moral and sexual contexts. Trying your experienced hand at a legitimate craft which requires fortitude, skill, and even phronesis (Greek for practical knowledge) ought to be excluded from the relevance of such a dictate, apparently. In other words, the goal of child-rearing is, according to these "progressives," to cloister our daughters from the reality of the amoral, natural forces of the world while exposing them to all the immoral, conventional ones. And contrary to the teachings of the best thinkers ever produced, it is false that there are things worse than death.
This renders young Abby Sunderland neither fish nor fowl. She is neither parentally coddled from the earth's forces nor suffering from ennui sufficient to land her in the toil and moil of "harmless" teen concupiscence. The lib establishment cannot accept that a young woman has looked for her jollies outside the musty teen world that they have so deified. Hollywood, for one example, is an industry of middle-aged burnouts looking fondly backward to the empty promise of the teens; conversely, Sunderland is a teen who looks to the horizon of more meaningful post-teen endeavors. Neither fish nor fowl also because she was neither made male, like her brother, who performed the same feat at seventeen, nor made supple and mediocre like the pseudo-sexy pudgemeisters on the Disney channel (whose corporate aim, I've gathered, is to muddle all the bright-line age requirements in the heterosexual book).
In that vein, where in the world are the feminists, if not at the side of the Sunderlands? Surprisingly, feminists might be of some use in this case (perhaps they've forsworn usefulness): A young woman would be denied the facility of her well-honed skills on account of her gender! If the true aim of feminism is to show that females possess all the desiderata males do, one might mistake the silence prompted by Abby's sailing excellence for laudation. To those who deny that Abby possesses the skills requisite for her journey, please take another look at the course that she pursued. She made it halfway around. One abjectly unequipped for such a try would not make it that far. So why did she fail?
Answering this question is perhaps the most prominent lesson instructed by the whole affair. It's the ultimate classical lesson, learnable from the ultimate classical craft: the tragic worldview amor fati, loving life through both success and failure. One can make all the right moves and possess all the right skills and still fail. If our pudgy youth had a dose of well-fought, weather-worn failure, it would be a national shot in the arm. Contrary to the bumper stickers, this is not "mean" or "unfair." It is life. Abby Sunderland is hip to this tragic lesson, stoically quipping, "The long and the short of it is, well, one long wave and one short mast." God bless her...and her parents, who evidently made the way ready for such precocious wisdom. Such practical wisdom will grace her life with successes in the long run, no doubt, just as the failure to acquire it will render an overly soft, overly safe, overly sexed society...and one ironically impotent.
If they paid for this fiasco out of their own pockets, then it’s their business.
Please tell me that taxpayer funds didn’t go into helping a 16-year old kid try to score some meaningless “first” and get her name in some book somewhere.
Mine is in the Coast Guard. She won't get her own reality show, of course, but you can follow her adventures on the Seaman Anoreth Ping List.
Boycott the REALITY SHOW which is entitled, Adventures in Sunderland.
>> Please tell me that taxpayer funds didnt go into helping a 16-year old kid try to score some meaningless first and get her name in some book somewhere.
Sorry, “Dave”. I can’t do that.
What a selfish, self serving family, and now to learn that the dad signed a contract to have a reality show - how dispicable!!
I think that Abby should sue all of her sponsors for child endangerment -- jimbo123 has a long list of the sponsors of this fiasco debacle in which Abby AND the Frenchman almost lost their lives.
Certainly somebody ought to be taught those skills!
Anoreth's cutter is in Borneo, for some reason.
Many of Abby’s supporters give us a false choice for kids:
1- Let you 16 year old daughter, who is barely old enough to qualify for a juvenile drivers license, sail a boat around the world by herself.
2- Or, let her sit home playing video games and watching the adventures of Lyndsey Lohan on TV.
I am raising two teen age daughters. And I would not recommend options 1 or 2 to them.
The real faults here were leaving too late in the year, and continuing on after early half as... repairs to the boat. She took unreasonable risks with the weather and with the condition of her equipment. Typical get-there-itis, which often kills. Not sure where the blame should lie, but there is the blame.
>> Anoreth’s cutter is in Borneo
US Coast Guard... in BORNEO? LOL!
Well, I guess they DO have coast to guard...
Well, if they were here, they might be doing drug interdiction or stopping illegal aliens, and we can’t have that!
Anoreth sends interesting descriptions of the animals, bugs, and weird foods of Borneo.
I heard several days ago that her family were kooks, and that they home=schooled their children. In other words this person was saying that because they homeschooled, the family were kooks. I heard this on Fox and Friends right after they found her alive. Don’t know if it is true or not. Have not heard anyone else say she was homeschooled so it may not be true.
This was better than living on Facebook or a cell phone.
The only way she could have done better would be if jury-rigged a sail and went on in under her own power.
Yes. They homeschool.
You should be locked up!!!
This trip wasn’t about wind-blowing-in-your-hair freedom. IT’S ABOUT SELLING SHOES — $$$$$$$$!!!!!
Again, please see abby16.com.
I just wonder how people’s reaction would be had Abby Sunderland actually SUCCEEDED in her solo trip to be the youngest world circum-navigator...
Would it be as hostile as the reception she’s getting now ? Or would she be hailed as a hero...
I mean Christopher Columbus went on his trip to the New World with just a theory and lots of tax payer money. Had his ships sunk, would this adventure have been called fool hardy ?
Oh heavens, her parents don't need to know a thing about us spiriting her across state lines to have an abortion.
Sorry - I'm just wondering how many on the left are having heart palpitations over the parents letting this girl sail alone, but have no problem whatsoever standing against parental notification for abortions.
Personally, I wouldn't have let my child try to sail around the world by herself. I think it's dumb, and I have a feeling the parents allowed it because they needed the publicity.
He wasn’t alone and 16.
And there are alternatives to Facebook and cellphone usage that don't include risking death for a reality show and an "I DID IT!" record.
Probably anti-piracy protecting tankers.
“One can make all the right moves and possess all the right skills and still fail.”
Sure, but the evidence in this case suggests that they heedlessly ignored expert advice and let her sail during a disproportionately dangerous time window due to delays in getting her boat ready to embark. There’s a large difference between prudent risks (where you’ve done everything to minimize inherent risks to their lowest level) and reckless risks (where you’ve abandoned caution and essentially put life or limb into the hands of fate).
To use an analogy. Climbing Everest is inherently risky and never will be devoid of risk no matter what precautions are taken in terms of preparation and/or equipment. But even for the most prepared and well-equipped climber, trying to climb it in January is suicidal: you either will die or need to be rescued. The chances of getting to the top are virtually nil.
So next year it will be a 15 year old. Then a 14 year old. Maybe a 10 year old will try. Where are you willing to draw the line?
I mean Christopher Columbus
Wasn't 16 and looking for a reality show.
Abby Sunderland’s brother made the same trip when he was 17. He was alone then.
How did I miss that? Congrats to Anoreth! ... and your and DP, of course!
I’ve got to disagree with you... The trip is not about selling shoes, selling shoes is about paying for the trip. I read in another article that she took the initiative to find a corporate sponsor on her own.
Christopher Columbus was sent on his trip by a narcissist King and Queen that hope to make a ton of money on his trip.
Abby on the other hand... oh never mind.
If this had been a grown person seeking a challenge, no problem. A skilled kid on an attention-seeking, record-breaking attempt with financial implications? Sorry, it’s sick in addition to being seedy.
Now there’s a thought! She said she hasn’t gotten to shoot at anything except “an imaginary small-boat attack,” but that could be the mission. She’s appropriately cagey about operational information.
A 16 yr. old cannot sign a contract.
Thank you! Today is her 1-year anniversary.
And there is where this endeavor lost my support. Set up for a reality show a week after she left on the trip? It does explain why they had her continue on after she made port in SA. So Abby’s life really didn’t mean anything but another shot at fame.
I was wrong. You weren’t. Sorry.
Today Fox says they home-school and the neighbors rarely saw them out, implying therefore they are quirky.
If I had a daughter I would rather have her out at sea than in a public high school.
What’s your point?
Was sent out as part of the reality show "Adventures in Sunderland"
Laurence Sunderland, a sailing instructor who lives in the middle-class Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks with his pregnant wife and seven kids, opened their home to film crews four months ago.
Its still better than anything 95% of kids her age are doing. I know of a few who have done as good or better - Mission trips to Haiti, or other hideous places that I wouldn’t have the guts to go to (esp. now that I old, fat, and married...).
But pre-teen kids served on (and died on) sailing ships for centuries before we started wrapping kids in fuzzy, padded cocoons. We should be proud of her, even if this was about “selling shoes.”
It scared me to read that she'd been knocked out when the mast broke and had no idea how long she'd been unconscious.
abby16.com is a commercial venture. It is my understanding that since Abby is not of a majority, she could not have entered into contractual agreements on her own. This whole thing smells.
When she’s older can she sue these vile companies who footed the bill so that she put her life at risk?
I think that Child Protective Services should assume custody of her, and check into the safety of her siblings.
What a bizarre stunt for her parents to encourage, so utterly dangerous — and then the captain of the boat who rescued her fell overboard, and HE had to be rescued.
What a selfish, self serving, pathological weird set of parents.
How dare they, and these vile sponsors, risk so many lives?
I suspect that more than one child from this family will pen a “Tell ALL” autobiography in years to come....
Oh, my family is quirky and goofy and all those other things. Too bad for those who are boring and go to school ;-).
Fame and fortune for the one doing it, not the ones sitting at home waiting to rake in the ducats. There is the disconnect. She does (or in this case, nearly does), and her parents try to capatilize on it. I am not against making money, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. They crossed it.