What is most pernicious about our judgmental society is illustrated below. Just because you — or I — might not choose to transport our child to school the same way as this mom, that does not make her a menace. And disagreements should remain disagreements, not an excuse to sic the authorities on a parent who is raising her kids a little (or even a lot) differently from they way we’re raising ours.
When did parenting differences become an opportunity to turn state’s evidence against a loving mom?
Dear Free-Range Kids: I almost got reported to Child and Family Services today. Some parents and a daycare staff person say that if they see me riding with my 3-year-old sitting behind me on my bicycle again they will have to report me.
My first thought is: “Look ANYWHERE around the world: Holland, all of Europe, etc. and observe how cyclists transport their children to school.” My second thought is: “Yeah, I get it. She doesn’t have a helmet on. She’s not buckled in. She could stick her foot in the wheel.”
My stomach is in a knot over this. So, I’m an irresponsible parent guilty of neglecting my child’s safety. But, man was it convenient during the last couple of days, being sick and tired and able to just have her hop on behind me, rather than untangle the little bicycle trailer from the shed, hook it up, get her in there with her back pack and her seat belt, then ride to school, park in the BACK of the school, unhook the trailer, lock it up, unbuckle her, get her gear out, walk around the whole school to the front entrance walking my bike because I’ll need it to go to work afterwards etc…. blah, blah, blah. She LOVES riding right behind me, hugging me as we ride slowly along. We call it the “Hug Bike Ride” and we both love it.
I suppose I should be grateful that they gave me the heads up before they made the report, but I’d like to give our whole culture a head SHAKE. How much do you want to bet that if I push my 3-year-old to school in a baby stroller with an iPhone in front of her face tomorrow morning, no one will bat an eyelash. [Insert SEETHING grumbles here]
But, I will write a nice, “Thank-you for sharing your concern about bicycle transportation safety with us before calling Child & Family Services” note in my daughter’s parent-teacher communication agenda. I’m not sure if I’ll add, “because no one should have to go through the hell of a CPS investigation except those guilty of legitimate cases of neglect.”
And then, on Saturday, when it is raining, I will take my daughter to the stores and find a bike helmet that fits her PERFECTLY and she can ride in the bicycle trailer until the snow flies. And when the snow flies, we will WALK to school, damn it.
How dare we exhort parents to model “active living,” and get their children off the damn screens, etc., and then proceed to hyper-ventilate because our culture’s addiction to fossil fuel makes small town residential roads apparently UNSAFE for children on bicycles driven by their parents because all the other parents are DRIVING THEIR KIDS to school in CARS to keep them SAFE from other parents driving THEIR kids to school in CARS.
WHEN, as a 2-parent working family, are our children supposed to be outside? I think I’ll just sit back now and take this nearly reported incident very personally and blow it way out of proportion. Oh wait. I just did.
Thanks for listening. Drops mike. Walks of stage. – The Seether