The first is from a 13-year-old who pleas – snarkily — for a little independence and parental perspective. Her friend’s dad is thinking of trailing the class field trip (for four days!) to make sure his daughter is safe.
If it’s getting to the point where a responsible adult cannot even trust other responsible adults – the ones at his kid’s school – I think we can agree that nothing outside of having his daughter sit in the living room will strike this dad as an acceptable risk.
The second letter might serve as a sobering reminder to him — and the rest of us: There is no place that is absolutely safe. Not even a living room. The letter speaks for itself in its poignancy and refusal to retreat from the world.
Here they are (slightly edited):
FROM THE 13-YEAR-OLD: Personally, I think all adults should let up on the OMG my son/ daughter can’t walk around the neighborhood alone to a friend’s house. I’ve done it before, and even on Halloween! But I am still alive and in one piece. Nothing has happened to me.
Also, parents need to let up on the protection a little bit. I’m going on a school trip this year with my friends for four days and one of my friends’ parents was going to follow us the whole time to make sure nothing happened to her! I’m not saying don’t protect us, I’m just saying let us make our own choices sometimes and let us be responsible.
Also, when you let your kid find his way home on the subway in New York, I thought that it was a great idea. I mean, for a young child, that is one of the best ways for us to learn how to be confident! Let us free for a while and let us make our own choices. If our parents make all of our choices, we’ll rebel and turn into the worst child on earth because we don’t have freedom.
LETTER 2: When I was a little 9 year old girl I rode the subways by myself for fun. Of course, that was in 1949, but so what, there were perverts around then too. Not as vicious as today, but they were there.
My daughter was murdered at the age of 31 in her apartment where she should have been safe. At the time her 18 year old sister was attending school in France. I didn’t stop the 18 year old from going back to school, from traveling to India by herself, from attending college in Ireland and Russia, from traveling to Shanghai. It was tough, believe me, but it would have seemed like I was punishing her if I stopped her from living her dream. Now she’s 24 and living in Greenpoint, hanging around in Williamsburg and Manhattan. I worry, sure I do, but we can’t stay in our bedrooms with the blankets pulled over our heads and the shades down.|
Too many people have become too cautious. We are becoming a nation of wimps, afraid of everything. I blame the media for hyping everything.
Thanks for these letters, and all the rest — Lenore