Tuesday, May 18, 2010
That's what my 16-year-old son is calling me. He thinks it's ridiculous that I won't let him go along with five of his buddies for a weekend at a friend's trailer in the Hocking Hills.
Hocking Hills is a beautiful area about an hour and a half from here, where the Appalachian Mountains think about starting. The hills start to roll and they're covered with an expanse of forests. We've gone there many times as a family.
His friend Riley's family owns a trailer somewhere in the Hocking Hills, and these 16-year-olds, who are becoming newly independent, think it would be "epic" to go down there for the weekend. They'd build a campfire and roast hot dogs. They'd cut their own wood with an ax. What could possibly go wrong?
Let's start with the drive down there, I suggest. Who plans to drive you all? He lists two friends who have their license and access to a car. Two 16 year old boys driving a carful of friends onto those curvy, country roads. Disaster right there. Aside from the fact that Ohio has a law that 16-year-olds are only allowed to drive one other person in the car, I would not trust a 16-year-old to drive that far away.
Then there is the group of boys sitting around a campfire with access to knives and axes. Can't you just picture the way they would begin to dare each other to do things?
I can't even come up with the ludicrous kinds of games they would invent after watching weeks of "Deadliest Warrior" -- whether they'd be playing an innocent game of William Tell and shooting apples off each other's heads or trying hatchet throwing games.
Sixteen-year-old boys in a big group don't always make the best decisions. They also aren't good at resisting the suggestions of the rest of the group.
What happens when one of them decides they need to go on a beer run? Has the driver already been drinking when they pile into the car in the dark on those twisty roads?
"Mom, would probably wouldn't even drink beer," Spence said to me. Then realized what he had said.
Do they leave behind the campfire they built and consequently start a forest fire? See, they could do more than just hurt each other.
"No way," I said.
"But you said I could," he lied.
"I said you could go if Riley's dad went and drove," I corrected him.
I can't believe the other boys' parents are okay with this. Some of the boys' parents I don't know very well, so maybe they are letting their sons go. Or maybe this is just boy talk about what they'd like to do and none of the parents are okay with it.
I suppose in two years he'll be going off to college and I won't be able to control who he drives off into the mountains with. But maybe something magical happens in those two years and his decisions become much more measured.
What do you think? Am I being overprotective or should I stick to my decision?
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