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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

To Abby Sunderland: Welcome Home! Best of Luck on Your Next Big Adventure!

 Photograph © 2010 Robert Glenn Ketchum
My son at age 11, free-climbing on the flanks of Haystack. Summit access along the diagonal crack in the background. Wind River Mtns., WY

In the last few weeks, many 'helicopter' parents have felt free to weigh-in as critics of the Sunderland family that allowed their young daughter to attempt an around-the-world sailing adventure. I would suggest before offering their opinions, have they asked themselves: When was the last time my child was “Into the Woods”? Has my child EVER had a serious, challenging encounter with wild land and wild-NESS in some form?

To me as a youth, and hopefully for my children, these are important encounters that allow them to make critical decisions for themselves and to go forward in life as individuals. Making tactical choices to keep yourself safe and alive in the face of difficult conditions is regularly revisited in wildness.

Photograph © 2010 Robert Glenn Ketchum
My daughter at age 8 under Temple Peak, fishing the jade green waters of Temple Lake (11,000+ feet) with her pink Barbie rod. The trout were biting, dinner for us was delicious! 9th day of the trip, Wind River Mtns, WY

More to the point, critics, ask yourselves, do you believe your children can read a map other than Google? Can they navigate from one point to another without Google or a GPS? Can they distinguish the difference between the atonal voices of any half-dozen pop tarts, but cannot distinguish between a howl of a dog and the cry of a coyote? Do their physical skills carry them to amazing places, or is most time spent inside maneuvering avatars through simulated worlds at war?

As to the adventurous explorers, sailors, climbers, surfers, skiers and the rest who feel secure enough in ourselves and our children to assume and to allow risk and challenge, leave us alone! Worry about the slugs on your couch whose xBox kill skills may be all they ever accomplish.

Photograph © 2010 Robert Glenn Ketchum
Wood-Tikchik winter backcountry solo spring of my 60th year.


1 comment:

  1. Well put Robert! Many people in today's society are quick to condemn, without even knowing that which they are condemning. Jimmy White


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