Free Range Children

We always try to do what is best for our children.  Most of us feed them healthy foods, as far as we are concerned.  We send them to bed with a tuck and a kiss, and some of us still do a nightly prayer.  We watch them as they sleep.  Many nights, we go and check, knowing all is well.  We hold their hands in parking lots.  We hold their hands when they are afraid.   We try to keep them away from the bad people, even if the bad people are family, because safety first.

I can remember being 9 years old in Houston, Texas, living with my parents behind a Hobby Lobby on F.M. 1960.  It was 1984.  My father was a police officer, my mother was a homemaker.  I would walk the neighborhood aware, yet unafraid.  I would walk to the house of children my age, having been grilled on how to act and why we do not eat or drink what strangers offer, and I would play outside of their house.  We would play in the streets, the park, we played everywhere.   I knew the things to scream if a stranger got me, and I knew what to do if I was placed in a car.  We were openly told about stranger danger.  We were openly told not all people were good.

Somehow, society has forgotten most of us do not have to be told not to lock our children in a hot car.  Most of us do not have to be reminded it takes less than 3 tablespoons of liquid to drown a child.  I cannot imagine a family not having the stranger danger and bad touch discussions.  We do this routinely.  Our children are smart, they have intuition.  We trust that they will use that, and do not hover.  Those seem like simple rules most of society follows.

There are parents being locked up, yes, locked up, for letting their children venture out into the world alone.  We live in such a police state that a Tammy Cooper of La Porte, Texas was arrested for child endangerment by letting her children play outside in their neighborhood unsupervised.  They were 6 and 9 years old, on scooters, in a cul-de-sac.   A new movement called free range kids started because a similar situation happened when a 9 year old boy was allowed to ride on a subway alone in New York City.  His mother, Lenore Skenazy,  wrote an article about it in her blog and was called by different sources, “the worst mother in the world.”

I do agree that children should not be left at home under a certain maturity level, and the same goes for anything else.  As we grow up, we assume more responsibility.  It is our jobs, as parents, to know when that time comes and act upon it.  It is not the job of our neighbors.  It is not the job of our communities.   It is our job.  The parents.

We should not have a buzz word for children who are mature enough to take on certain responsibilities.  There should not be a label like this for children who have to take a bus for transportation and children playing in a park.  This police state and tattle tale mentality of our ever growing population of people taking away individual rights as parents is ridiculous.  A child has to venture out to grow.  Have we forgotten that?

There are always dangers.  Life itself is dangerous.  Women are also often targets of dangerous people, but we are not going to put them in a burqa or keep them inside and away from the dangers, or are we?  People have been raising children and it has always been a private matter.  It should remain that way.

No parent should become a criminal for letting their children play outside.  Being a parent is hard enough.  So is being a child with a parent in jail.  I would not wish that on any child.  We need to fight to take back our families.  This kind of thing has gone on too far and too long.

This is the America we now live in.

Welcome to freedom, guys.