Readers: Yup, I’m envious, of this mom, her kid, her country:
Dear Free-Range Kids: I don’t know what to say really. I’ve just found your blog and I’m astonished with the stories I’ve read. They’d be a lot of fun – if they were not so scary.
My point of view is a bit different as I live in Northern Europe where we have not yet realized how dangerous the world really is. I’ve raised a Free-Range Kid without having heard anything about the concept. I guess that’s how we roll, up here in the North.
My kid took his daily nap outdoors in a pram in all four seasons. Yes, in winter too. Yes, with all the frost and snow. He was a very healthy baby.
My kid traveled 100 kilometers to his grandparent’s house by bus since he was 4 or 5. The bus drivers are decent people who keep an eye on a little traveler and see that he meets his grandpa at the destination. No problem, never.
My kid walked to school and back since he was 7 and took care of himself until I or his dad came home from work. The only problem was the front door which had to be fixed a bit so that the child was able to open it.
My kid spent his childhood upside down doing somersaults and cartwheels and jumping off the swing in its wildest speed and he never broke a single bone.
I don’t mean to say it is weird to be worried. On the contrary, it is quite natural.
When I became a mother I looked into a mirror: “We have to talk.” Was I going to follow all my protective instincts and allow myself to see the world as a Very Dangerous Place? Or would I force myself to be a bit stronger and trust a bit more?
Now that my kid is 16, I’m happy I didn’t thrust upon him the idea of threats and dangers lying in wait everywhere. All his life he has been learning how to spread his wings one day. That day is getting closer, but that’s ok. He’s been a good learner.
They all have to learn to take care of themselves, don’t they? It is not something a young adult suddenly knows all about when he wakes up on one particular birthday morning. Why fear and not let them learn it step by step, naturally? — Johanna