Tamara Treber, a high school English teacher, comes this story she calls her “Reality Check.”
Dear Free-Range Kids: My husband and I have two kids (ages 7 and 5). We live in an impoverished, largely agricultural area of Central California. Nevertheless, we have a nicely appointed home on a quiet cul-de-sac. I read your book, I follow the website, and while I found myself agreeing with your work and point of view….I wasn’t letting go.Recently my parents were visiting from out of town and my mom and I took a walk around the block with the kids. They were complaining of the heat and didn’t want to browse the garage sales we boring adults were enjoying. “Well go on home then, and we will see you there,” said my mother, sensibly. I nodded casually (my inner-control freak was freaking). But the glee and confusion were evident on my kids’ faces. They took off back to the house a few streets over from where we were..We returned home, and both children were so excited. During our walk my husband had left to run an errand, so the kids had come back to a locked, empty house. My daughter knew the back gate was always unlocked, so she opened it. Then my parents’ dog (who was also visiting) escaped and went for a free-range run himself around the neighborhood. My daughter proudly recounted how she and her brother “rescued” him and brought him safely back, and used the hide-a-key to let themselves in through the garage. She got them both Popsicles and turned on a movie for them to watch. She put the dog in the bathroom with a bowl of water..I had no idea she knew about the hide-a-key..I didn’t think she knew how to turn on the TV, much less the DVD player….I have never seen her get a snack for herself..We do not have a pet of our own yet because I didn’t think the kids were “ready.”.I am so proud of how my kids handled a simple situation — but more importantly they were proud of themselves. Time to let go (and maybe get a dog). –T.T.