CPS, Sesame Street and Six-year-olds Outside

Folks, when I posted the letter from the dad whose 6-year-old was picked up by the police — and DETAINED — for walking solo in her neighborhood, one of you said that stories like this make you worried to let your kids go outside. Which is exactly the opposite reaction I was hoping for.

I wrote back to say that I”m here because I want us all to  band together and fight for our children’s RIGHT to go outside without us.  And it is our right to LET THEM GO! To let them play and be part of the world!

Moreover, I do think these CPS stories are rare.  I don’t want my site to exaggerate their frequency, I just want to make sure they don’t become more frequent. My m.o. has been to bring them to public attention, hoping that awareness of overprotection overkill will keep it from spreading. Sort of the way the recent spate of over-the-top Zero Tolerance stories seems to have pushed that policy to its tipping point, and now the public is ready to see rigid, one-size-fits-even-all rules for what they are: ridiculous.

In the meantime, we have to remember that the more we repopulate the streets with LIFE, the less odd an independent child will look.

So I was thinking about all that when someone else sent in this vintage Sesame Street video. Remember: Sesame Street was not devised by clever predators to lure kids into their clutches. The collective brain trust of the last century wanted to show kids doing normal, healthy, developmentally appropriate things — like helping their moms by going to the store, even at a young age. In this charming little video, please note that the girl does not appear to be older than a first grader. – L.

So there

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