The Free-Range hhbrysfiaa
Kids Project is catching on. The idea is simple: A school, a grade, or even just one teacher tells the students to go home and ask their parents if they can do ONE THING that they feel they’re ready to do that, for one reason or another, they haven’t done yet.
Most recently, the fifth grade teachers at Edison Park Elementary in Chicago took the plunge. About 70 kids participated. Here’s how one boy filled out the survey his teacher handed out:
What do you want to be able to do by yourself or with friends that you are unable to do now? Ride my bike to school.
What are your reasons? Discuss and explain each one:
1) My parents say that I’m gonna get kidnapped. I don’t know why, but I’m gonna explain to them about the crime rate. [Lenore here: I gave a talk to the parents at Edison Park last month, but before that I did an assembly with the 5th-8th grade kids. Apparently it made an impression.]
2) My parents always bring up bad stuff that happened in the past a lot of times.
3) My parents also say that I might get hurt by a car or hurt myself in an accident.
Reflection: Please write about your experience and thoughts/feelings about what you were able to do:
When I finally got to ride my bike to my softball game, my sister came with me. The game didn’t start yet so we went to Dairy Queen and I got an ice cream cone dipped in chocolate. My sister got a Strawberry Blizzard. When we were going back, me and my sister were so happy that we got to ride our bikes alone while eating ice cream that we got lost. We went a little bit too far and saw Olympia Park and then Oriole Street. So we knew the way back. Pheww! We also won the softball game. That time that my mom said “Yes” I felt so alive.
Consider that what we have here is exactly what parents worry about: A boy who pedals off for the first time on his own immediately buys junk food AND gets lost.
And that was okay — better than okay! He and his sister found their way back and now they know that the big wide world is theirs, even if they screw up a little.
So the boy got himself out of a jam. He got to eat ice cream while riding his bike. And he got his mom to trust him at last. It’s like pecking out of the shell and seeing the sky.
Alive? He’s flying.