Readers! This nice note just in:
Dear Free-Range Kids: I couldn’t be happier! Tonight my 7-year-old daughter got lost in our neighborhood while riding her bike. She had two out-of-town cousins with her, and they wandered about one block further than she recognized (we’re new to the neighborhood). And then she did a very smart thing–she asked for help.
She found a couple sitting on their porch and asked them to help her find her way home. She knew her address and phone number, so they called us to let us know she was on her way back. I had a nice little conversation with the husband, and then his wife walked the three kids back to our place.
The kids were exultant: they’d gotten lost, found their way again, and made new friends! When my daughter got home, I congratulated her on being so smart. To make sure she was clear about boundaries, I asked what she would have done if they’d invited her inside, offered her cookies and lemonade “just inside the house,” and so on. She said that she would’ve said no, she just wanted directions home.
Now I feel even more confident about my daughter’s street savvy and the kindness of adults in my neighborhood. A Free-Range kid is a safe kid–a kid who makes it back home again! Best — Caitlin