What Every Parent Can Learn From Oceangate’s Titan Submarine Tragedy 
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What Every Parent Can Learn From Oceangate’s Submarine Tragedy 

After five days of searching, “major pieces” of Oceangate’s Titan submarine have been found near the Titanic wreck, with all five men who were on board the submersible presumed dead. “The debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” Rear Adm. John Mauger, the US Coast Guard First District commander, told reporters Thursday.

I won’t pretend to understand the mechanics of the submersible, as the more I research the how and what of it all, my brain continues to bring me back to why, why?; especially as it relates to British Pakistani businessman, Shahzada Dawood and his teenage son, Suleman Dawood.

Forty-eight-year-old Shahzada Dawood, and his 19-year-old son, Suleman Dawood, were from a well-known Pakistani business family. Dawood Hercules is part of the Dawood Group, a family business for more than a century, according to his biography at the SETI Institute, where he served as board member.

According to statement by the family-run holding group, Dawood Hercules described Shahzada as a “loving father” to two children with an interest in “photography, especially wildlife photography, and exploring different natural habitats”. While a savvy businessman, friends, and colleagues described him as a calm, rational man, having characteristics that are far from those one would expect of a person participating in such an irrational adventure.

But, similar to the other three men on the Titan submarine, his love and obsession with Titanic, overshadowed basic common sense, leading to irrational decision-making that will now tie his name to one of the most famous shipwreck of the 20th century.

At a young age in Pakistan, Shahzada Dawood was “absolutely obsessed” with the story of the Titanic and would frequently watch the 1958 film about it, “A Night to Remember,” Azmeh Dawood, told NBC News.  

Azmeh Dawood, Shahzada Dawood’s oldest sister, spoke with news outlets sharing her brother’s obsession with the history of the doomed ship, saying this voyage was a dream come true for Shahzada. As he grew up, he reportedly would enjoy visiting museum exhibitions containing artifacts recovered from the 1912 disaster. 

Azmed also shared her regret for not speaking up when her nephew Suleman Dawood, expressed anxiety and concern about the voyage. “He wasn’t too thrilled about the voyage, he wasn’t very up for it” and felt “terrified” about the trip. But since the voyage coincided with Father’s Day, he felt it was important to accompany his Titanic-obsessed father,” she said.

While the entire ordeal is perplexing, I was particularly drawn to Suleman’s motivation for accompanying his father on this adventure, in spite of his worry and fear of the unknown. His willingness to put aside legitimate fears and concerns to appease his Titanic-obsessed father is a testament to the influence and pull that we, as parents, have over our children, no matter their age.

As parents, we must not make light of our influence. It’s important to understand the length our children will go to for our approval. No matter your relationship with your children, you are the mirror in which they view themselves, and decide how they will present to the world.

Creating an environment where they feel comfortable enough to share their fears, concerns, and differing opinions, without downplaying or dismissing their gut feelings, or protect your feelings, is of the utmost importance.

No child should feel pushed to betray their intuition for the sake of pacifying their parents. Respect and loyalty should never come at the expense of life. No child should feel obligated to be cheerleader to their parent’s dreams, especially when the odds are not in their favor.

Many things can be learned from this tragedy, but the three that stands out the most, are these – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Not all dreams deserve the space and work to become reality. And, some risks should be taken alone.

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