Please note that if anyone ever hears that someday I decide to let my children swim with sharks, it must mean that I have finally had it up to here with the sparkle glue that is wiped on our living room couch day in and out despite my insistence that all art projects stay on the art table, and how my older daughter always dresses her dolls in my younger daughter’s clothes and then refuses to put them back in the proper place.
Elana and David Barnes must have had it up to here with their 5-year-old daughter Anaia.
That’s the only reason I can imagine they let her swim with sharks in open water.
The Ridgefield, Conn., family was vacationing in the Bahamas when Anaia and her dad snorkeled among the likes of nurse, lemon and Caribbean reef sharks, according to ABC News. Then the Barnes’ family posted a video of it on YouTube, which is when the controversial sparks started flying. You know, because what idiots let their 5-year-old swim with sharks?
According to the Barnes, they did their homework and determined the risks were minimal but the chance of adventure was high. Or something utterly inane like that. Because they’re talking about a 5-year-old. Not a 15-year-old or a 25-year-old. A 5-year-old who — I don’t care how adventurous she is — is not equipped with the wherewithal to figure out what the hell to do if a reef shark decides to nibble on her toes. Minimal risk is not no risk, after all.
I get that her dad was right there (and someone else, too, holding a video camera). But even if the risk of injury was minor because the sharks are “rarely aggressive,” how about the potential emotional scar? I saw Jaws when I was in elementary school and only started going in the deep end of pools when I was in my 20s, never mind the fact that I can’t in get deeper than my knees in any water with a bed of sand underneath, lakes included.
Elana Barnes had second thoughts that can be heard on the video (which you can watch here), and admitted to ABC News that she was scared for her daughter, but ultimately, “Life is too short to be boring,” she said.
“There’s just always risk assessments in life every day,” David Barnes said on Good Morning America. “I’m more concerned that they don’t put seatbelts in school buses.”
Then drive her to school instead, David. And focus on the preventable risks: Like, say, letting a girl that young snorkel, but in non-shark infested waters. There might just be risks in many things we do, but that doesn’t mean we need to do them all. Life is too short, but being bored is not the worst thing in the world if it means life can be just a little bit longer.
She wasn’t swimming with Jaws, but would you have let a 5-year-old swim with any sharks that are capable of attacking?
Photo credit: iStock