There’s a young girl you may not have heard of. Her name is Emily Heaton, a six-year-old from Virginia who, like most young girls, dreamed of becoming a princess.
Enter Emily’s dad, Jeremiah who instead of running to the local toy store and buying her a plastic scepter, did the next logical thing; he searched online for unclaimed land and came across an area called Bir Tawil, located between Sudan and Egypt. He then set off on a trek through a remote part of Egypt and into the uninhabited 800-square-mile patch of desert. It was there, on June 16, which was Emily’s 7th birthday, that he stuck a flag into the ground and declared it the Kingdom of North Sudan. Thereby making himself the King, and Emily, yup … a princess.
And that’s not all. He’s requesting everyone to refer to her by her title, Princess Emily.
(Right now you’re either saying, “awww that’s so sweet!” or “um, what?”) I’m in the “um, what?” group.
Jeremiah told The Washington Post, “I wanted to show my kids I will literally go to the ends of the earth to make their wishes and dreams come true.”
In my book, parents should go to the ends of the earth to make sure their children are safe; to make sure they are happy and healthy and well-rounded. That they have access to a good school and opportunities in the future. Sure, there are birthday parties and fun to be had along the way, but becoming a princess? That’s on them.
But many people seem to disagree with me, if you read the comments on his original Facebook post. Apparently this registers as a grand gesture of love, the ultimate “beat that” to future potential suitors, according to some.
Though it should be clear that it’s legally very iffy if the land is actually his, with one expert telling the Bristol Herald Courier Jeremiah would need “legal recognition from neighboring countries, the United Nations or other groups to have actual political control of the land,” according to The Washington Post.
But Jeremiah stands firm on his claim, especially since other countries, including the United States, were formed as a result of imperialism and war, and his exists because of love. For his daughter. (No mention whether his other two kids have royal titles, by the way, though they did help design the flag.)
Here’s the thing: My older daughter would like to be a princess, too. She wants to move to the Kingdom of Arendelle, specifically. But instead of schlepping to Norway and finding a fjord to call our own, we do something called pretend. And guess what? It’s a big hit. Not only that, but she doesn’t have an unreasonable expectation for the next time she wants something big.
On those days that my kid has a tantrum because she decides our pretend game needs expensive props, though? No trip to Arendelle — pretend or otherwise. Just a trip to her room for a time out if she whines about it enough. This, despite parents like Jeremiah, who say, “as a parent you sometimes go down paths you never thought you would.”
For me, and probably for other parents, too, that means paths to help them be healthy and make good choices. Not ones that indulge fantasies that only teach them the world revolves around them, or that if you beg long enough someone else will make your dreams come true. I’m teaching them to be smart and kind in order to carve out their own place in the world. Make their dreams come true for themselves.
“I founded the nation in love for my daughter,” Jeremiah said. Also, he plans to “establish positive relationships with Sudan and Egypt by way of converting his ‘kingdom’ into an agricultural production center as his children, especially Emily, wanted,” it said in The Washington Post.
Well, by all means. But good luck topping this next year, Jeremiah.
What do you think? Was this just a grand gesture of love, or totally over the top?
Image courtesy of Facebook.
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