For several hours today, I followed a discussion on Facebook about this guy who took his 9-year-old son fishing for sharks in a kayak. The discussion was initiated by someone who posted the story and asserted that the father was an “idiot” for engaging in such a dangerous activity. Another poster suggested that the father was an experienced angler and asked that others not be so critical of parents’ individual choices.
I refrained from posting my own opinion. I wanted to (because I’m so opinionated), but I knew there was no use in doing so. Everyone involved in the discussion had already taken a side and determined that the other side was wrong. In such a heated debate, there is no room for reason.
What I wanted to ask was, how does one determine that a sport is “dangerous”? Does the decision come from carefully reviewing the statistics reflecting reported injuries associated with the activity? Or is the ruling based on the amount of fear that ignites at the thought of the activity? Clearly, many of the commenters were speaking from their emotions.
This happens all the time- especially in evolving families. Consider the following:
- Mom is concerned about the children’s involvement with Dad’s new girlfriend because the woman is “young and immature”, yet Mom doesn’t know her at all. More likely, Mom is afraid her children will like the stepmom figure a little too much.
- A man insists that he deserves to “get” the house if he can’t have the kids/pets/car, etc. Is the house really the best living arrangement for him? Or is he simply trying to hang on to some shred of the life that formerly defined him?
- A woman tells her new boyfriend that it’s “unnatural” for him to spend so much time communicating with his ex-wife about their children. Is it? Or is she insecure about the status of her relationship?
Feelings are tricky. Going with one’s gut isn’t always the best choice, especially during a time of emotional strife. Allowing emotions to guide actions can burn bridges… and that’s all the more unfortunate if children need to travel across such bridges on a regular schedule.