Thursday, May 20, 2010

The kids aren't just alright, they're impressive.

As I write this blog there is a 13-year-old young man climbing to the top of Mt. Everest. Really!

Jordan Romero, his father, and a small team are climbing the mountain from the Tibet side, mainly due to bureaucracy. The permit to climb the mountain is $6000 cheaper there and unlike Nepal there are no age restrictions for climbing. From Nepal, Jordan would have been forbidden by the law to climb. I could try even though it would no doubt kill me doing so, but he couldn't.

Let's put that in context for a second. Jordan was ten-years-old when he climbed to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. Then in Australia he climbed to the summit of Mt. Kosciuszko, the highest mountain there, at 7,310 feet, small compared to his first climb which was 19,340 feet. When he was 11 years-old he scurried to the top of Europe's highest peak, Mt. Elbrus, a climb of 18,510. Then he went to South America, still 11, and climbed the highest summit there, Mt. Aconcagua, 22,841 feet high. And still before his twelfth birthday he climibed Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America at 20,320 feet. Apparently he rested during his twelfth year since he was 13 when the climbed Puncak Jaya in Indonesia, but it was only 16,924 feet high, so no doubt he did it during lunch.

At this point Jordan has reached Camp 2 on the climb. This location is already higher than any previous climb he has done, at 24,750 feet. He has to reach 29,035 feet to summit. And then he plans on climbing the highest peak in Antartica, a mere 16,067 feet.

Jordan says, "I really have dreamed about standing on top of the world since I was a little kid," and, "I just happen to be doing it at this age." He tells the critics, "I don't think age matters so much."

Apparently a reporter at the New York Times does, as I found her article on Jordan rather demeaning and condescending. She has to comment about "shaving feathery whiskers or discovering girls" and then finds a psychologist who refers to teens as being "like an unfinished Ferrari—raw power, without brakes, lights or the ability to maintain equal pressure on the gas pedal." Of course he makes money peddling a book telling parents how to deal with "When Things Get Crazy With Your Teen." Hmm, perhaps demeaning teens with these sorts of comments drives them crazy! I suggest that had she spoken with Dr. Richard Epstein, author of The Case Against Adolescence, she would have received a more respectful interpretation.

Epstein notes that our modern society doesn't give teens the same freedom that previous generations did. Teens went into the world and worked, raised families and did quite well for themselves. We invented "adolescence" where we continue to treat teens like children in many ways and teens become angry and act in ways that previous generations did not. Perhaps it is because we started treating them differently.

Only a short while ago, Jessica Watson, 16 finished a solo, non-stop sailing trip around the world. Jessica battled storms but persevered and finished her journey by sailing into Sydney Harbour. Her parents were soundly criticized for giving her permission to make the trip.

But, of course, Lenore Skenazy was viciously insulted for letting her 9-year-old son rid the subway in New York on his own. The boy told his mother that he wanted to see if he could find his own way home. He did, quite efficiently and his self-confidence grew because of it. He's a better kid due to what he did. Skenazy went on to write an important book about the paranoid, fear-mongering that goes on about kids, which I recommend, the book that is, not the fear mongering.

If you watched the piece from Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano that I posted, you will hear the pro-censorhip moron, Phillip Cosby, claiming that without censorship of erotic material children will be subjected to molestation, rape and kidnapping. His proof was referring to news stories where kids were snatched or molested. The facts are that crime has been steadily declining for decades now. Kids are no more at risk today than they were thirty years ago. What is different is that paranoid, deluded parents are now denying a childhood to their own children, locking them indoors out some a fear that is irrational.

We are stiffling the ability of children to learn and to mature by treating the way we do. When I was a kid there were no cellphones, no constant monitoring. We went out to play, yes, out in the real world. We crossed streets, played in woods unsupervised, went off to the mall on our own, and only returned when it got dark. Mom couldn't check up on us, technology didn't allow it.

Labels: ,