What a good idea! If any of you try this (or decide to give up worrying for a specific amount of time, just as an experiment), please let me know how it goes! – L
Dear Free-Range Kids: The other day I let my 5 and 2 year-old kids walk down the block. It was a big deal. It was a rainy day, they wanted to go puddle splashing, but they had never walked that far alone. It involved crossing one street. We live in an area that doesn’t get much traffic. But I told my daughter (the five year-old) to hold her brother’s hand and not step one foot into the road if she saw a car coming from any direction.
My husband and I stood outside our house and watched them. They waited while one car about half a mile down the road passed them and then finally stepped into the street. They carefully crossed it, got to the other side, walked two houses down to the “succulent house” with their favorite plants, and walked back. Just as they were approaching me (my husband had run inside to make them hot chocolate) a man pulled up in a car and started yelling at me. He told me that if he were still a police officer he would have me arrested. How could I let them walk down the street alone, they could have been hit by a car! It was raining and where was my husband?!
In retrospect he sounds ludicrous, but I was really shaken. It took me a couple of days to think through the whole scenario and believe that we had made the right choice. Did I mention my kids were beaming with pride when they got back? All this lead me to your book, which I’m very grateful to have read. I didn’t even realize how immersed our country is in fear until I started to think about all of the assumptions that I have about danger and how far-fetched most of them are. Now I’ve given up worrying — not planning, not taking precautions, but worrying – for Lent.
Yours, Determined Mom of Two