Dear Free-Range Kids: Ran across this “article” on Facebook: https://www.romper.com/p/15-things-parents-did-in-the-90s-that-no-parent-would-do-today-9192?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=pro&utm_campaign=fbpro&sr_source=lift_facebook
I grew up in the ’90s in suburbia MI and remember this stuff. Now as a mother of an infant, I wish parenting wasn’t such a monumental, risk adverse task. Just last week I left my (overtired, recently screaming, just picked up from daycare) sleeping 8-month-old in a warm, remote-started, brand new, locked, electric car on a 50 degree day with a dog as backup for no more than THREE MINUTES as I ran into the corner store to buy a block of organic, locally produced cheese for my made-from-scratch vegetarian dinner (clearly, I’m a careless mother).
When I came out there was a woman standing next to my car with her arms crossed. She told me she stood by the car to keep an eye on my kid. Not for predators, mind you, but to protect me from other adults or cops that may interfere.
We went on to have a 20 minute conversation about how she LOST her 3 kids to CPS for leaving them (aged 5 to 1 at the time) in the car while she went into a gas station to buy cigarettes. I was heartbroken and dumbfounded. Granted, I don’t know her whole story (I got the vibe there was more to it), but I am thankful for her goodwill for preventing that from happening to another mom as well.
Going to start doing some research on getting my town to adopt the kids’ bill of rights and become Free-Range. A couple years ago Wausau, WI was identified to be one of the safest small cities in the USA. As such, it should be a no-brainer to allow kids and parents to act as if their neighbors are not out to destroy their lives at any opportunity.
Yes — adopt that bill! Make it illegal to arrest parents who are not putting their kids in immediate, egregious and statistically likely danger!
Meantime, I am happy for this note reminding us that we are all so much better, kinder and more forgiving than the current culture expects us to be — a culture exhorting us to squeal on our neighbors instead of supporting them.
Let’s hear it for the moms — parents! people! — who understand that most of us are doing our best and simply cannot, and need not, be perfect.
Next time you see a child waiting in the car, channel this lovely lady and show your support for your fellow man — and woman. Humanity will thank you. – L.