hearing from so many parents worried that if they let their kids play outside or walk to school they could run afoul of the authorities, I wrote the statement below. Please fiddle with it to your satisfaction, then bring it to your mayor, or next town meeting, or post it on Facebook — or shout it from the rooftops. (If you do that, please take a video.) I believe that the first town that goes Free-Range will reap a ton of publicity, and property values will soar. (Buy now!)
Eventually families will routinely seek out Free-Range cities or towns when buying a home. Who doesn’t long for the freedom to live their life and raise their kids the way they see fit?
WHAT IS A “FREE-RANGE TOWN”?
Free-Range Kids is the national movement that believes our kids are not in constant danger. Nationally, the crime rate is back to what it was in 1963, so there’s no reason kids today should not have the same freedom most of us adults had — and loved — when we were young.
Free-Range Cities and Towns are places where an old-fashioned childhood is allowed to flourish again. Free-Range communities encourage kids to walk, ride bikes, and play outside till the street lights come on. Citizens, cops and child protective workers who see or hear of an unsupervised child do not automatically treat the child as endangered, or the parents as negligent. They simply look out for the kids, as helpful neighbors always have.
Being a latchkey kid is not illegal, nor is it illegal to let a child wait in the car while the parent runs a short errand. Everyone comes from a place of helping out, rather than turning each other in: “Hey, kid. You okay? Do your parents know where you are? Do you know how to get home?” Parents are given the benefit of the doubt, as are helpful strangers.
The watchword is this: “Our kids have the right to some unsupervised time, and parents have the right to give it to them without being arrested.”
A town where kids are playing in the parks and visiting their friends is the kind of safe, lively place we all want to live. It’s a place that’s friendlier for all ages. And it’s a place where parents can make rational, loving decisions — or even some mistakes (we all do!) — without fearing retribution from busybodies and authorities.
By declaring itself “Free-Range,” a city, town, or neighborhood automatically becomes more attractive to the people living there and the people considering moving in. Freedom, caring and community are hard to beat!