All hail Michaeleen Doucleff! She’s author of the incredibly great, life-hacking, eye-opening book, “Hunt, Gather, Parent.” She and her daughter Rosy traveled the world to witness the parenting practices that have been working for millennia in traditional societies.
They watched kids happily hunt, gather, clean up, make food, and help their parents every which way, in three far-flung, indignous communities from Africa to Canada. And meantime, here in America, she dropped a note to the nonprofit that grew out of Free-Range Kids, Let Grow:
Dear Let Grow:
I saw your story about the 6-year-old being harassed at the store. It reminded me of what happened last month to Rosy. I was at my mom’s house outside Albuquerque, New Mexico (a suburb), and Rosy (now 7.5) walked three blocks from my mom’s house alone, just playing. Within minutes a cop came, picked her up and brought her home.
I was like…hmmm. She was three blocks away. The cop told me that “many people were worried and something could have happened.” (Where we live now, in Texas, Rosy rides her bike a mile to school and to the grocery store.)
The rest of the visit, I asked Rosy to stay within TWO blocks of the house, and she was approached by three more people “concerned” about her safety during the week we were there.
Holy smokes! I told my mom, “So Rosy is basically a prisoner in this house.” Meanwhile…. Many children have absolutely no restrictions on what they look at or engage with online. So porn, suicide, eating disorders, violence — but not playing two/three blocks from a house in a middle-class suburb. I think we are growing more backwards in our thinking.
When I asked Michaeleen if we could run her note on this blog, she said she’d be honored. And then she recalled a time she and Rosy watched a 9-year-old hunt a whale to feed a big part of his village.
Meanwhile, in our “advanced” culture, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, “Children should not be unsupervised pedestrians before 10 years of age, except in limited situations.”
Maybe one of those limited situations is when you have to stop your village from starving.
Ok: Some practical, snark-free take-aways?
- Help change the laws that leave parents unsure if they are allowed to let their kids do anything on their own. Click here!
- Give your kids a “Let Grow” license to carry that says, “I’m not lost or neglected!” Click here!
- Approach your school about doing the (FREE!) Let Grow Experience, that gets all the kids doing more and more on their own, so competence and independence become second nature again. Students, parents, and teachers ALL WIN. Click here!
- And send your kid out to kill a whale!*