Readers! This was a comment on the post two below this one, and I was nodding along so much, I decided to give it its own post. It’s by a woman named Nanci, who describes herself as “a Midwest mom of two.” — L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: …. I really think the bottom line problem is that our society today is “too safe.” When we begin to defeat all the things that used to be dangerous, we lose quite a bit of perspective. We start to gauge safety/danger against absolute safety.
One hundred and fifty years ago it was almost unheard of for any family to have all of its children survive to adulthood. There were so many dangers back then, from diseases to wild animals, to harsh living conditions, to dangerous machinery and so on. Everyone expected people to die. No one looked for someone to blame when a particularly cold winter claimed many lives, or an outbreak of typhus swept through. Even 75 years ago young people were being killed by polio and world wars.
Nowadays, though, America is so safe that we have begun to see death as unnatural, especially the death of a child. “Surely something can be done to prevent it! Surely if the parents would have just done a better job, been more vigilant, their child would be okay!” And so now we have generations growing up with the idea that if you protect enough you can prevent any tragedy. This is America, it’s 2011, we have good hospitals, doctors, everything is state of the art, surely there is no place in this society for children to die!
And now, after anything that kills a child, no matter how freakish the accident, a product appears on the market within months that would have prevented it (and normal life) from happening.
In Third World countries they do not have these issues with Free-Range Parenting. There, because children do still die, at least the parents have the freedom to live without the fear that they will be blamed if they don’t create a absolutely safe environment for their children. They know it’s impossible! Unfortunately in America we are so close to complete safety that we can’t see that it’s an illusion that will destroy us if we seek it.
There has never been a safer place or time in history to raise children than America in 2011, and yet parents are more paranoid than they have ever been. Parents today will only accept absolute safety, nothing less. Unfortunately the victims of this screwed-up thinking are their children, and eventually all of us, because as we all know the children are the future. Too bad this next generation will be living in their parents’ basements playing video games into their 30s. — Nanci