Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kid Power

“It’s only really in America that parents have no expectation of their kids until age 18. Then they expect them to get into a good college and if they do that, they can live off their parents’ money for another four years.”

-- Zac Sunderland

Have you heard of Zac Sunderland? He made news a few weeks ago when he became the youngest person to sail around the world, solo. At age 17, Zac has completed a mission few adults ever attempt.

I had the opportunity to talk to Zac today and asked him how he responded to adults who wrote off his dreams, simply because he was a kid. His response, in part, is above.

What do you think? Do you think Americans expect too little of our sons?


  1. I can write a book on this--as a matter of fact, I'll do a postwhen school starts for us. I'll try to be brief (almost impossible). It's harder now for boys to get jobs before they reach 18 than ever before. Farmers won't hire, businesses won't hire--so how can these young men get out there and get a job to learn how to be uncomfortable in a situation where their parents have no control? How can they build a bank account and control their own expenses?

    We've started our own business, a manufacturing business where our sons can work until they're old enough to go work for someone else. They have to plan their social schedule around their responsibilities and the financing they earn from working.

    Next year, we're encouraging two of our sons to start a lawn care business. Again, they'll learn what people want and how to deliver a certain quality of work.

    The economy is changing; the degrees for hire in the workplace are changing. We're to the point that we want to teach our sons entrepreneurism, how to create a business, build a business, and maintain a business. Then they're in control of their destiny.

    The one thing I'd like to say about the gentleman above--sailing is an expensive sport. His parent's financial equity made that dream possible. Could he have financed that dream himself? Learned how to sail without that funding? A parent's finances provide opportunity.

    Not all parent's have the equity to provide an opportunity to sail, much less sail around the world.

    However, according to the 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary, it is an obligation of education to make our children fit with a trained skill for work (we're moving--my dictionary is packed, so I'm losely translating). That can't start when they're 18. It needs to start when they're 13.

  2. Not only do I think we expect too little of our sons, in a lot of cases I think the things we DO expect are inappropriate. The number of boys in this country that are on ritalin so we can essentially drug their boy-ness into submission for our own convenience is horrifying. I think that instead of nurturing our boys to be the best they can be, many are trying to turn them into girls.

  3. I agree with both of you -- and will likely be posting more about this in the future.

    BlueCottonMemory -- love the idea of starting and involving your sons in your business.