Mary Leakey, Free-Range Mom

Hi Folks! My friend Ellen just sent me dkrkiehykt
this wonderful story
from the Christian Science Monitor by Lisa Suhay about the intrepid Mary Leakey and her kids. It begins:

Today’s helicopter parents might want to explore the parenting techniques of famed paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, whose birth 100 years ago is celebrated today. Instead of hovering over or reigning-in her three sons, Ms. Leakey handed them responsibilities early in life and brought them out on dig sites from infancy.

“Mother gave us every freedom to learn by experience as early as I can remember,” says her youngest son, Philip, 64, who now lives in Kenya and responded to questions for this blog via e-mail. “This gave me tremendous self-confidence and taught me responsibility at an early age. As I grew I was able to take on more responsibility and in a way it always put us as children ahead of the pack. It encouraged and enhanced leadership skills.”
And the rest is (pre)history! – L.
Thanks, mom!


7 Responses to Mary Leakey, Free-Range Mom

  1. Warren February 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Happy Birthday Mary!!!!!!!!!!

  2. bmommyx2 February 7, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    It’s almost funny how backwards our world has evolved. A hundred years ago children worked in factories (not necessarily a good thing) & my Great Grandfather was selling the evening paper at the age of six.

  3. Katie February 7, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    That is neat and the problem with children today. Many children don’t have really responsibilities. I find it odd that many parents think that letting their kid cut vegetables with a blunt knife, use a laundary machine or a vacuum cleaner etc, is dangerous, but think driving their kids all over in the SUV to sports where kids get injured all the time is safe.

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  5. hineata February 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    @Katie – amen to that! Responsibilitise are really important.

    After four years of helping run the church cafe, feeding 50+ people at a time, my kids and their church mates are finally going to have their own group doing it all themselves. The 11 year old makes, among other things, the world’s best lasagna (IMHO, lol!) and has been practicing bulk cooking over the holidays. And the other kids in the church that age to 16 are mainly from Maori and Island families, so used to big gatherings and large quantities of food. Even then the ‘adults’ around found the idea that they could run things themselves novel….

    How do kids become adults without being trusted with ordinary tasks? (Smacking head in frustration).

  6. hineata February 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    PS – yes, fifty is not a lot, but the kitchen is frustratingly small, and I draw the line at having to set up a cook tent every week – too darn lazy!

  7. Andy February 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    That parenting style is sooo.. 1,000,000 B.C.