Imagine raising a child who is so independent that he not only graduates early from high school but then proceeds to do something almost no one else has done — sail around the world alone. And, become the youngest person in the history of the world to sucessfully complete the journey. Such a young man is Zac Sunderland. There have been so many times in my career as a teacher when I looked out across a group of students sitting passively in their desks then asked myself “what could these young men and women be doing if they were not locked up here”?
Young men and young women are capable of so much more than most people believe. They are capable of running businesses. Many are quite capable of making fully responsible decisions for themselves. Most are extremely motivated to succeed when they are given the chance to work on those things which are their natural gifts. Young people are completely capable of regulating their own habits if they have been allowed to grow up. America now delays any opportunity for young men and women to grow up independently. Instead we now regulate their comings and goings as if they are cattle.
Thank God, there are young men and women like Zac Sunderland who have been given the opportunity to develop into an independent, fully developed person at an appropriate age. Thank God also, that he had parents who provided him with the disciplinary training and sense of purpose needed to succeed independently. A book could be written about successfully rearing kids like Zac. I hope that his parents will write that book. American parents and American schools need it desperately.
Zac was home schooled online. He is a shining example of what can be done with technology in this modern age if it is used properly. Zac has a high school diploma as well as a great education. But most importantly incombination with the incredible example of his parents he developed what the vast majority of young Americans will not develop —- independence, personal self-discipline, along with the knowledge that he can accomplish what he sets out to do. His parents also appear to have instilled in Zac and his siblings a strong faith foundation.
Zac is living proof that young people are capable of far more than we believe. They can, in fact, follow successfully that which they see as their own destiny. They do not have to be policed every minute of their lives. Their time doesn’t have to be divided up into descreet 50 to 90 minute intervals designed around a completely artificial schedule of learning. They do not have to be harrassed about their hair cuts, their shirt tails, the color of their clothing. They are trustworthy to go to the bathroom when they need to go. They are quite capable of going from one location to another in a building without being supervised.
The reason so many young people have so much trouble is because their natural development into competent adults has been delayed artificially to fit factory schooling modes. They have not been given opportunities or instructions in how to be adults. We have kept them as infants because of our fear of them and our over-supervision of them. Some will argue that Zac and kids like him are not the norm. I will differ. I think that Zac is the norm for 17 year olds in this country. He is a properly developed young man. I emphasize the term man. He has been given the opportunity to develop according to the schedule God set forth for him. As he acquired the ability to accept more responsibility his parents appear to have granted it to him until when he desired to attempt his circumnavigation of the world his parents drew a deep breath, said a prayer for their beloved son and said yes.
Zac is part of a fortunate generation of kids whose parents chose to forgo government factory schooling to let their children develop with independence along the course of their own developmental schedule. These are people who are themselves independent thinkers. They are more likely to rely on themselves as well as challenge themselves to do better throughout their lives. These are the independent, fully functioning people who have learned of the personal power with which they were endowed by God. Their children are able to do what the government would tell them is not possible or advisable. They make their own decisions without government hand holding. They are complete adults who are able to run their lives successfully. And, they rear children who become fully functional, literate and educated adults.
Zac Sunderland’s website is located here. Then look at your own kids. Look at them with new eyes whether they are currently home schoolers or in public or private schools. Think about what could be. And then go accomplish it.
Here is the youtube video of the interviews and expressions of faith from Zac’s father and family upon his arrival home.