Google, “Hero, Age 5…” or 6, or 7, etc., etc., you will find a trove of stories so amazing you want to cheer and cry — and also scream:
“SINCE WHEN DID WE DECIDE NO ONE UNDER AGE 9 CAN DO ANYTHING SAFELY ON THEIR OWN?”
Kids’ brains, souls, smarts, bravery — all of that is building from Day 1. By age 5 — yes, 5! — developmental psychologists say they are capable of doing a whole lot on their own. And yet, many of those in charge of our lives, including politicians, police and child protection authorities, pull an age out of their…um…hats and declare no child can be alone until they reach whatever age they decree. In Virginia, for instance, many counties say that kids can’t even play in their own YARDS till age 9.
The HERO KID list I’ve compiled over at Let Grow is of all sorts of amazing, brave deeds kids have done at age 5, 6, 7. Stuff I’d be terrified to do. I threw in an 11-year-old because she delivered her baby brother. Check it out. And if someone says, “You’re letting your 7-year-old play at the park by himself?” or, “You let your 5-year-old walk to school?” (the age my mom let me), regale them with some tales of hero tots. These kids are outliers in that they saved lives. They are normal in that they proved themselves far more capable than our infantilizing culture gives them credit for.