Day 90 (of 185) My thinking on the Worst mom @freerangekids
This eerily mirrored a conversation I had with one of my teachers on our drive home from a school ski day. We were chatting about the limitations of “play” and how it seems that if kids are walking alone the police might get called (not by me….but others). I find it reassuring to hear and talk with more and more educators and parents who are supporting less restrictions on our kids, and tonight our community was visited by Lenore Skenazy – a mom who has made some great inroads (and gotten finger wags of shame) for letting her kids be…..kids.
So……Why we don’t trust kids alone the way “we used to” especially when we live in one of the safest eras ever…..why has this mania swept the western world?
1. The media likes to sensationalize and focus on unique events – singular tragedies make topical stories and enable fear to take hold. ie the “only story from Portugal in forever” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Madeleine_McCann even a law & order episode had a story similar to Lenore’s subway story….except on tv the story did not get home….and the actor looked exactly like her own son….
2. A litigious society. What might lawyers do and sue? When Lenore shared about “what might be dangerous” made me think about a Dan Akroyd classic: http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/irwin-mainway/n8641 and the playgrounds are next (loved her reference to: they came for the merry-go-round and I said nothing…they came for the teeter totters and…..
3. The Expert Culture. cruel words: if you do anything bad (even while pregnant) THATS what lead to ___ problem and YOU are to blame because “___ knows best”. And when Lenore was reading an article on how to hug. From a magazine. I did a google search and….well…wow. And this overload of information can lead to overthinking!
4. Child safety industrial complex: ie baby knee protectors….. and table toppers for tables with list Tuesdays taco spill OR if even cleaning chemicals sanitized the table……
However will anyone ever survive…..!!
And I did a double-take when she shared her own story of going to a scout event to lead/share some whittling ideas – only to see them break out the potato peelers because they were safer….but sticks ain’t potatoes.
But…..in the olde days we used to go anywhere and just be back when the streetlights came on……and now I do want “regular check ins”. So I’m not saying I’m perfect….but I am aware and supportive when my kids want to take risks (maybe even walk across the Patullo Bridge like I did once as a kid)
And I agree with her sentiments of the importance of free time. Not always having adults organize games. Dealing with frustrations when the game falls apart.
I like how this connects with our own schools upcoming participation in the Global School Play Day @GSPlayDay on February 1. Unstructured opportunities to play and explore.
How to start?
Free Range Kids Project: go home and ask parents if you can do one thing that you want to do, but haven’t been able to do yet. Might be walking a dog….maybe make an egg….maybe even introduce self to neighbors. Creating community.
I really like these supportive shares – got my brain working for some ideas both at home and at my school!