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When My Daughter Didn’t Want to Hold My Hand Anymore
March 20, 2013
Hey Readers — Just a little note about how kids surprise us all the time, when we let them. – L.
Dear Lenore: Just heard you on the CBC (Canada’s NPR). Here’s my anecdote of awareness:
Concerned for my Grade 6 (age 11) daughter’s safety, I insisted on her holding my hand to cross any street. At the same time, I arranged for her to participate in a class trip to Japan, where 10 girls from her school would spend two weeks. Each pair of girls was billeted with two families for 5-day periods. When she returned, the increase in her maturity was immediately evident — I still get chills remembering the love and pride I felt at realizing she had gained so much from a trip that some parents had predicted would be a waste..
Shortly after Devon’s return, I reached for her hand to cross the street. “Dad,” she said, “you know in Japan …” and it turned out that getting to the school involved a two-hour trip, including a walk through several city blocks, a subway and a train — all on the girls’ own. I knew in that moment that my daughter had everything she needed to make her own way in life — if I just got out of the way. Yes, there were some moments to come, with guidance and protection needed. But in the end, my partner and I, along with her mother, have raised an amazing young woman who gives back now, at age 27, through work with special needs kids — helping them build confidence in their own abilities to navigate the world.
Keep up the common sense voice! — John James O’Brien
John — I see a direct line from the joy you felt in your daughter’s independence to the joy she gets helping her students gain theirs. Please tell her hello from us at Free-Range Kids! – L
Cool fact: In Japan, kids 6-12 ride transit half price. No adult required.