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So what would you do? Laura Dekker, a 13-year-old girl who lives in the sea-loving Netherlands, wants to take out her 26-foot boat, The Guppy, and sail around the world, according to the Associated Press.

All by her lonesome.

Laura comes by her wanderlust naturally: she was born in New Zealand while her parents were on an around-the-world sailing adventure, and spent most of her first four years at sea. She’s been sailing alone since age 6 and says she started dreaming of a solo sail around the world when she was 10. With some obvious help, she’s set up a Web site (in Dutch) so fans can track her travels.

Her parents seem to think it’s a cool idea, but how much conversation there’s been is unclear: the girl lives with her father, who is Dutch, and divorced from her German mother. Some wonder if she’s living out a parental fantasy, and many observers think it’s a bad idea to let a 13-year-old set out on an around-the-world voyage all by herself.

The sea alone is dangerous enough, but it’s probably not the sea I’d be most worried about: there would be lots of ports along the way.

Dutch officials are so concerned that the Dutch Council for Child Protection has asked a court to grant it temporary custody of Laura so it can say “no” when her parents won’t.

I don’t know Laura or her sailing abilities, though I’m sure they are superb. I do know what my answer would be if our almost-13-year-old wanted to sail around the world alone, or even walk a few miles into town by himself. It starts with an “n.”

I can’t speak for Laura’s parents, but I suspect a lot of children would be better off if their parents were willing, at the appropriate times, to say “no.”

Tony Cartledge is associate professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School and contributing editor to Baptists Today, where he blogs.

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