Blue Half Circle
Yellow Star
Blue Half Circle Right
Left Half Circle
Yellow Half Circle
Blue Half Circle
Yellow Stars

True Stories: A Win for Independence

By on

Read Time: 3 minutes

You know we love to talk about the importance of independence for kids, but instead of just listening to us, we want to focus on YOU!

This week we are spotlighting a story from the Facebook Group “Raising Independent Kids”. The story comes from Beth:

Zight 2024 06 21 At 4.58.12 PM

We loved this story so much we decided to follow up and let Beth share a bit more about her and her son’s independence journey.

Let Grow: Thanks so much for sharing your story with us and taking the time to tell us more about your independence journey. Tell us where you’re from.

Beth: Lake Oswego, OR. I’d like to note that Oregon provides a consistent message that children walking and biking to school is a good thing, and specifically has a program called Safe Routes to School that encourages this. We are homeschoolers, attending a “learning center” part time, but I think this message benefits everyone and promotes pedestrian and bike safety.

What age(s) of kids?

I have four children, ages 2-9. My 7.5 year old son and 9.5 year old daughter have both been biking to school…my son started it, and daughter wanted the flexibility to go on her own time, and when she saw he could, she went as well.

How long have you been following Let Grow?

Since about 2014, when I had my daughter. I taught Language Arts before my daughter was born, and noticed a pattern of passivity and anxiety among my students that seemed off to me. When I found Let Grow, I recognized a voice supporting the values of independence, courage, and personal responsibility that I wasn’t finding from other sources.

How has your son handled his new independence?

Now that he can bike home, he has enjoyed staying after school by about half an hour to play foursquare with other students (of mixed ages–7 years old up to 13). He has always come home when he said he would. He doesn’t have a watch, we just make arrangements for a reasonable timeframe. I’ve also let him bike home from a nearby bike park on his own.

David Jameson Biking

What has been the most rewarding part of encouraging independence?

David has taken immense satisfaction in meeting the challenge of navigating traffic and setting his own schedule within limits. His peers and other parents at the school have noticed his confidence. I tell friends he seems to stand a foot taller. It’s been amazing how it has transformed our mornings–where before we were fighting and getting into the van at the last possible moment, now he gets himself ready and goes early! I think the exercise also helps him focus better in class. Once his sister also started biking (she is two years older, and wanted the same independence once she saw he could do it) I had one less driving trip to make. Convenient and eco friendly!

What would you tell other parents to encourage them to take a step back?

Challenges are surmountable. I didn’t send him out unthinking; we’ve driven the exact route many, many times, and I’ve run it myself. He already had the biking skills. I just needed the impetus to let him go do it. Kids desperately need these opportunities to step up to challenges and grow in their abilities. There is no substitute for the chance to take initiative and personal responsibility, and as his mother I am in a unique position to say, “Yes, he’s ready,” and “This calculated risk is worth it.” No one else is going to know my kids and their abilities like I am, so it’s up to me to make sure I give them the freedom to do what I know they can.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I am so grateful for the supportive community I’ve experienced as a result of David’s new adventure. Multiple parents have expressed their admiration for his carefulness and satisfaction in his biking, and have told me how great it is that he’s able to do it. Construction and tree-trimming crews he has encountered have been super gracious about directing him safely past. I am glad to live in an area that supports this independence, and hope it can continue and increase.

If you have story you’d like to share, send it to [email protected]. Want to hear more or looking for support in your independence journey? Join our Facebook Group: Raising Independence Kids

Comments are closed for this article.