It has been bothering me for a long time – the national news story about a mother who's kids were "found" walking to the park alone. They were 10 and 6.5 years old. Read the news story HERE.
She called herself a "free range parent" and saw nothing wrong with her kids walking about 1 mile to a park they had been to hundreds of times through a safe Maryland neighborhood.
Just Google "kids walk to park alone" and you can link to hundreds of stories in which parents are arrested and/or charged with allegations of neglect/abuse. Truthfully, some of them seem valid...but most are every day families trusting that their PARENTING has been strong enough to raise independent children. PARENTING does not equal STALKING.
This is absolutely ridiculous. To say that "we live in a more dangerous time" simply isn't true. Each American generation has grown up in a "more dangerous time" and I can't help but think that it is perspective aided by media exacerbation creating this fear.
I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called "Maidentrip" about a Dutch/New Zealand girl named Laura Dekker. At 14 years old she was determined to sail around the world ALONE. In under 600 days she had navigated 27,000 miles of water with no support crew. She studied charts, cooked dinners, managed customs in many countries, made friends, found laundromats, repaired her ship and filmed herself during the endless hours of ocean.
I'm not suggesting that every child should captain a ship and set out across the Atlantic, but I would beg you all to question the definition of "parenting."
parenting: an origin, being the original source of, an organism that generates or produces another
As I watch parents apply sanitizer and sunscreen to their children with obsession in their eyes, as I look at my fellow mom-friends carting children to this activity and that – I wonder – what if you let them ride their bike...just once? What if you let their nose get a little pink because they were caught in a moment with a frog and you didn't wan't to interrupt for the SPF100?
What if we could first strive to be the "point of origin" and later strive to be a cheerleader in their successful independent lives?
I'm going to try.
In the first 15 minutes after Axel goes to school each day I find myself purging his desk of all sorts of "special things" he plans to keep for the rest of his life. Does he miss them or even notice they're gone? Rarely.
We struggle with Axel's constant acquiring on a daily basis. Everything has value to him, everything has a purpose and he likes to live surrounded by "neat little things". If only these things would stay confined to his room I would be less likely to complain – but they ooze from the confines of his collection and appear as "sprinkles" on the "monster cookie" that is our house.
As we prepare to add another body (summer Nanny – Yippee) to the 2000 square feet we call home, I find myself needing more open space in which to fit joy and giggles – less clutter.
We knew Axel was our "keeper" when we first saw his strawberry hair. Although I can appreciate his love of a good "find" and it is rather endearing how much he values...say...a rock that looks like any other rock – him being a "keeper" is something I need to keep my eye on.
See exhibit 'A' below for a few treasures I found today.
A - Pencil missing it's eraser – claims he has an eraser in his desk at school that will fit the end.
B - Business card from a manager at Acapulco restaurant – acquired approx. 1 yr ago.
C - Popsicle sticks (unwashed) with jokes he intends to remember.
D - Seeds from a friends apple that he plans to start an orchard with.
E - A miniature strainer...because you can't live without one of these.
F - Bark pulled from a tree by a bird – he's saving it to put back on the tree.
G - Handmade guitar – made from a Pandora charm box and Rainbow Loom bands.
Do you have a keeper in your house and have a creative solution to encourage purging? Throw me a line...I'm about to be buried alive.
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