Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What I Think About--Dangerous Dreaming

Abby Sunderland's dream was to circumnavigate the globe on a forty-foot racing yacht.  The video below shows Abby's father praying for her before she started her solo-mission.

Last week Abby was feared lost at sea (if you've been under a rock breathe easy--they found her).

I admit my first reaction to this story was something along the lines of "What the heck are they thinking?!?!"  She's too young.  It's too dangerous.  What poor examples of parents!

Indeed most critics have my same reaction.  Now Abby's mom and dad must stand up to the very critical eye of a public who would blame them, who would flat out call them stupid and neglectful, for letting their daughter dare to reach her dreams.

As I researched this story I reflected on my dreams for my children.  Madisen is very persistent--a negotiator with unparalleled skills.  I'd love her to be an attorney.  And Pax is so adventurous and loving.  He'd make a great teacher.  And my kids are so cute they could easily find spouses and settle down near us and raise sweet little families.  This dream sounds so familiar.  Wait!  It's my life.  An attorney, a teacher, and a couple of kids.  I love my life.  It's just want I want.  But what if my kids want more?  Will I encourage them or hold them back?

I'll admit that as a mom, I have a hard time thinking my kids might have dangerous dreams. Perhaps my biggest fear is that my kids' dreams will take them far away and have them living in dangerous places in dangerous times with dangerous people.  But what if it is their God-given purpose that leads them?  Should I hold them back for my sake?  For safety's sake?

All this thinking has me wondering about when people are the "right" age to reach for their dreams. I mean, we tell our kids they can do and be anything.  But at what age are we, as parents, supposed to start letting go and believing and trusting that they really CAN do and be anything? Is 18 okay but not 16?

For some reason an old Van Gogh quote keeps running through my mind: "The Fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm is terrible but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore."  Perhaps not taking the risk is more dangerous than attempting to make a dream a reality.

What I think is I want my children to pursue their dangerous dreams.  I want to hold them firmly with my hands wide open--protecting where and when I can but letting go (and letting God) when and where I can.

Borrowing from Oswald J. Smith, "I want your plan for my children's lives, God.  May they be happy and contented in homeland or on foreign soil; whether married or alone; in happiness and sorrow; health or sickness; prosperity or adversity; safety or danger.  I want your plan for my children.  I want it.  Oh, I want it!"

Was letting Abby pursue of her dream inspiring or foolish?

If you are stopping by from this week's IT list--thank you!

My friend Sarah said I remind her of a quotation from "Julie and Julia"--"I have thoughts; I can blog." Every Wednesday I blog my thoughts.  Sometimes I get jeers; sometimes I get cheers. 

Check out some of my most popular "What I think about ..."
Date Your Husband (the first comment is from a man--not mine--and is hysterical!)


  1. My immediate response was the same as yours... what parents would let their daughter do that?! But your blog rang true with me. I want my kids to dream. And I want to tell them they can accomplish whatever dreams they dream, that if they work hard, I will support them and be their biggest fan.
    So, would I do what these parents did if one of my kids comes to me with a desire to solo-sail around the world at 16? I honestly don't know. I'd like to think I'd encourage them, but I know I'd be having to spend some serious time in prayer for a request like that!
    I did read, however, that her boat and safety were ill prepared for the voyage she was taking. I also just read that the dad was trying to make a deal with a network for a reality show, which makes it look suspiciously like he was just pulling a stunt to make money. The media is the media, though, and not always trustworthy, either.

  2. Somehow the rest of my comment didn't post, anyway, I just wanted to finish by saying good thoughts, Reagan! God's plan for our kids could potentially be out of this world and I certainly don't want to be the one in the way of those plans!

  3. Sandra--I see both posts.

    At the Deeper Still conference Pricilla Shirer said "The problem with Christians is they pray for miracles but live in a way so that no miracles are needed." When it comes to me and my kids, I want us in positions the only thing that pulls us through is God. And to Him be the Glory.

    Finally, I read the same thing about the parents and the reality show but so far they are denying it. As for boat safety--who knows? I mean she was nearly done and had gotten that far.

  4. When I first heard the story I was upset with the critics. I never thought that the parents had done wrong. They prepared, they trusted, and they let their daughter go. I can not even begin to imagine how hard that would be. I know what it's like to live in a house where your dreams are shot down because they are to dangerous or not what was imagined for me. I don't ever want to do that to my kids. I agree with you that I want my kids to pursue their dreams, no matter how safe or dangerous. I want to put my faith in God that He is watching over them and that whatever happens, everything will be ok. Great thoughts Reagan!

  5. I will be honest I don't think I would let my child sail alone at 16. Obviously the daughter is a mature 16 but even so. My dad was overprotective and I didn't get to do much so I believe in moderation. Not that I would want to dimish my kids dreams but they might have to wait a few years for it and plan. It is good to start small. For instance I let my 9 year old build a treehouse at my dad's house. He used some tools and he did a great job and made it at the right angle. I was very proud, we were there the whole time. He was busy in the tree the whole day :)

  6. Not having a 16 year old child, I don't feel equipped to answer if I'd let a child that age do something like that. At 16 I was VERY mature, and capable of many things. Good grief I had my first child at 17! If I was able to birth and raise a great kid so young, on top of being a wife that young, and it all worked out okay.. perhaps sailing around the world isn't such a big deal after all? ;)

  7. Was letting Abby pursue her dream inspiring or foolish? --Definitely inspiring, I think. Scary...yes, but every risk is! None of us will ever know the dad's intentions, etc but that really doesn't matter. If one day that is my kids dream, I hope I do all I can to support him. It's dangerous...but pursuing a dream usually is. Heck...driving in a car is dangerous & possibly more dangerous than what Abby was doing. I'm guessing she is highly skilled & trained to do what she was doing. The harder part for me in that situation would be being away from her for so long.

    Love the words from Oswald Smith

  8. I meant to put diminish my kids dreams LOL

  9. Love the quote and seeing others view of this type of situation. I'll admit that my reaction mirrored yours. My husband had an entirely different reaction to this story. He sometimes thinks that I hold our children back way too much and should give them more freedom to live their lives. As the mom of a 16 (almost 17) year old boy and seeing how immature they tend to be now compared to when I was a teen, it scares me give them free rein they probably should have and need to grow.

  10. @Sarah--I guess our weekend at Deeper Still got to me. Know I'm trying to figure out if I really trust God or if I say I trust God but take care of every detail so he won't have to.

    @AmberRay--Interesting point of view. I had someone explain parenting to me this way--it's like holding sand. The tighter you hold it, the more it slips through your fingers. But hold your hand open and flat and you'd be amazed at how much you can keep!

    @Mandy--I had the same thoughts. Mary had Jesus at what--13--I bet people thought she was crazy and her parents were bad parents too!


    @Suzanne--Thanks for sharing. I'm a bit guilty of holding too tightly as well (I think it's the OCD control freak in me).


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