Readers — These made me smile!
Dear Free-Range Kids: Today I sent my 12 year old son and 10 year old daughter on the light rail train from our suburb to downtown, so they could meet their daddy and go to a baseball game. The boy was confident, the girl was wary, but they both hopped on that train. They had directions, phone numbers and a phone, no changing trains necessary, and they got there just fine.
I was nervous but confident! My son was like, “You can go, Mom!” at the platform, lol. — Laura
Dear Free-Range Kids: Today I let my 7 year old son go to the barber around the corner from our house on his own for the first time to get his hair cut. Last time we were there I spoke to the barber about the possibility of my son coming over on his own, explaining we live near by and she knew that we came regularly. She said that was fine and that he should just come in and ask for a “boy’s haircut” and she would know what he wanted. He has been looking forward to going back on his own ever since. Today the big day came and he was so excited! We got the money ready together and then he had me remind him what to ask for and off he went. He ran back home absolutely glowing and I was so proud of him and so happy for how happy HE was, I actually teared up. — April
Dear Free-Range Kids: I’ve been letting my 3 year old play outside on his own for brief periods, 5-10 minutes and I check on him. The other day I went to the bathroom, looked outside, and he was gone. I’m not a panicky person, so I went outside calling his name. He, and a group of kids ages 5-12, all came with him! They’d seen him playing alone, and wanted him to join them! So, now my 3 year old runs around the neighborhood with a group of 6-10 kids of all different ages. The oldest ones promised me they’d watch him and I occasionally give them five bucks when he comes home unscathed.
Crazy? Or the community stepping up? We all let the kids in and out of our houses, giving them snacks and drinks. This is a tiny part of a small town, probably six blocks all the way around, and we have tons of kids. It makes me happy to see this kind of mentality returning! — Marie