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.
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