I grew up in Oklahoma, running around half wild during the summer months. I can remember walking with younger siblings and friends to the local convenience store with allowance money to spend on candy and cheap toys. I walked to school more often than not. That didn’t change when we moved to Iowa. I walked to school every day of high school. If it was raining, I put on a rainslicker and rolled up my pants. Or I left them down and dealt with annoyingly wet cuffs for the morning. If it was really cold, I put a hat on. No big deal.
Not so anymore. Helicopter Parenting is now the way of the land. Apparently unsupervised children are now (practically) illegal. A father recently had his daughter arrested and taken to the cop shop.
We’ve taught our six-year-old about crossing the street, reading maps, etc. As she’s learned these skills we’ve let her try them out, first with supervision, and then on her own, to make short trips around the neighborhood. We live in a fairly average residential neighborhood that has a mixture of stop signs, stop lights, and crosswalks. The state that we live in does not have any laws regarding a minimum age for a child to be unattended.Recently, Emily went by herself to a small store a few blocks away. When she was out a little longer than I expected, I went looking for her. The shopkeeper said that as she was walking out the door the police were coming in, asking if anyone there was her parent. Then they took her.
Playground equipment is inspected and guildlined to death in Fairfax County in the eternal quest for risk free ways to foster the physical and mental development of young Americans. (Here’s a hint, kids need risk to learn!)
Iowa Girl Scouts are selling all of their camp properties. Saying in a letter to parents:
The sale of the properties will open the door for us to respond to current trends and needs of girls in our council. At the recommendation of the property committee, we’re excited about exploring the development of a new outdoor learning center which could help us meet the expectations of our current Girl Scout membership.
Trends and needs like technology access and climate control. All of which I’m sure will be abundant in the new outdoor learning center. Which could help them meet expectations, but probably will be a worthless overthought excuse for a camp, fostering zero life lessons.
But the girls will be able to tweet about it when they hit the target with the arrow! Or live blog the campfire each night so Mommy and Daddy can check in. *sigh* ok ok, letting it go now….
It worries me folks. How will we end up with self reliant adults if we don’t make self reliant kids first?
- Calamity Jane