Remember the â€œSnappy Answers to Stupid Questionsâ€ that used to run in Mad?
Thatâ€™s what we need here at Free Range Kids. As a recent email from â€œSkyscraperâ€ put it: â€œThis site needs a seperate idea page for what to say when others question the â€˜free-rangeâ€™ parenting approach.â€
So true.Â What do rsssrikfab
you say when someone thinks youâ€™re nuts for letting your 8-year-old jump rope by herself on your driveway, or for letting your pre-teen walk to school?
Iâ€™ve been doing a lot of radio interviews and I turn into a self-righteous bore when the host inevitably asks, â€œHow could you let your son take the subway alone?â€
I quote crime stats that show a child is 40 times more likely to die in a car accident than by being abducted. I appeal to common sense. I remind people that a couple of generations back, a 9-year-old probably would have had a part-time job. And then I ask the interviewer, â€œDidnâ€™t you getto run around and do things by yourself when you were a kid?â€
â€œSure!â€ comes the answer, but â€œtimes have changed.â€ Once they get that out of the way, they go in for the kill: â€œHow would you have felt if something DID happen to your son?â€
So much for my years of media training.
What I really want to say is: â€œTerrible! Earth-shaken! Iâ€™d be cursing God — and especially the radio hosts who asked Him to zap my son just to teach me a lesson! But, Mr. Fulminator, sir, donâ€™t you see thereâ€™s something sick about immediately and endlessly envisioning the very worst? Isnâ€™t that the very definition of paranoia? And isnâ€™t it wrong to teach kids that they are incapable of taking care of themselves, that they canâ€™t trust their community, and that it is better for them to live a virtual life inside, where life is programmed, than a real life, outside, where they can glory in the wonders of the world? Are you ever going to let your kid GROW UP?â€
Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™d like to be able to get out, but it sounds a little hysterial and itâ€™s not exactly pithy. So if you have any amazing zingers that really seem to open peopleâ€™s eyes (or shut their mouths), we are all eager to hear them.
And even more eager to start using them.