Here's a note from a mom who read The Fragile Generation, our piece about how come today's kids are treated as if they are socially, emotionally and physically in constant danger. The piece also mentioned that the crime rate today is back to what it was in 1963. So today's parents were allowed to play outside in times that were LESS SAFE than now. (And it's not safer today because we don't let kids do anything on their own. ALL violent crime is down, even against adults, and we don't helicopter them.) So -- the note:
Dear Let Grow: Wow. This is an incredible read and must be read more than once. I found myself nodding a lot of the time.
I have a great deal of anxiety around kidnapping.
I had an incredible amount of time unsupervised, where my parents had no clue where I could be. I cannot imagine allowing my daughters that same freedom.
I do get concerned when I see kids outside alone on the streets. I do worry for their safety and question their parents in my mind.
And yet, if we want to let our kids walk home from school or run errands alone, I think, internally, we must trust that... no one would harm our child... on an unspoken code of discipline, and even to trust that, in case of an emergency (earthquake), a stranger would take care of my lost child as there own.
I don't think this kind of trust is in the world anymore ☹
To which I replied:
We have had distrust and fear shoved down our throats by a media desperate to keep us terrified -- and glued to the screen.
In defiance of that all-fear-all-the-time programming, we have to create trust -- but it's not hard. Once we DO let our kids go to the store, play in the park, and walk around the neighborhood, the neighborhood becomes THEIRS instead of belonging to the boogeyman.
It's sort of like opening up the closet when kids are scared of a monster in there. Reality beats out fear, but we have to be willing to open the closet door and see it!
No one can give us absolutely assurance of absolute safety, in the home or outside. That is something we cannot wait for, if our kids' childhood is ticking away. All we can do is say that these are very safe times, our kids are only young once, we valued our independence, and there is some evidence that a lack of it is making young people anxious.
In the face of that, we must try to trust in the world and our kids. They are both worth trusting.
By the way, the Let Grow Project is an easy way an entire school can start this process.- L.