Pride and Prejudice

I believe the highest I've ever been (aside from airplane flights, of course) was the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I was around five years old, terrified, as my father held me up against the metal fence to look down at the city. I've enjoyed the London Eye and some Chicago skyscrapers' top floors, but I'm no fan of great heights. So when my 21-year-old daughter alerted me and my dear wife a few weeks ago that she planned to skydive, it was not welcome news. She attends school and works in Brisbane, Australia, so we have much less parental control these days than when she was in high school -- we're not even on the same day with her when we communicate by email and Skype.

Her excursion was delayed by bad weather -- Brisbane has been flooded last year and this year, but fortunately her school is on a high hill in that excellent city -- but last week, the weather broke. Here's part of her message to us:

"Skydiving was absolutely amazing, but it was easily the most terrifying thing I've ever done. For a brief moment (probably after initially leaping out of the plane), I legitimately thought I may die. But I jumped tandem with an instructor, which was great, and I really really loved it. We had only signed up for (and paid for) a jump from 9000 feet, but we were the only people there who were jumping from so low, so we ended up jumping out at 14000 feet, which we learned is the highest you're allowed to dive from in Australia. I would really like to eventually be confident enough to jump without an instructor, but I think I need to jump WITH an instructor at least 20 more times before I get there."

I'm overjoyed she landed safely. I won't try to match her accomplishment. I asked a good friend, who has retired from the U.S. Army, whether he'd parachuted. Five times, he said, including a very low-altitude jump at Fort Benning, Ga., to which wives and children were invited to watch.

I'm proud of my daughter but prejudiced against unnecessary risks, such as skydiving, bungee jumping, space tourism, etc. Am I wrong?

Posted by Jerry Laws on Mar 04, 2013

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