Folks! Two stories for you. Here’s the one to remember when folks start “What If”- ing your decision to send your kids outside to play or walk to school or do pretty much anything without you. One question I always get is, “Well what if they get HURT and you’re not there?” Here’s what if, sent to us by a mom named Jennifer who lives in St. Paul, MN, where she teaches ethics at the state university and homeschools her two kids.:
Dear Free-Range Kids: We had a Halloween experience that reinforced my view that most people are good and helpful and that teaching kids what to do when they encounter problems is a good thing.
My 9-year-olds went out trick or treating with their 8-year-old friend. About 45 minutes later we got a call from a neighbor a few blocks away. My son had tripped and sprained his ankle on the steps going up to someone’s yard. The kids asked for help, stayed together, and called home from a neighbor’s phone. The neighbors from the houses a few blocks away carried my son to a comfortable place to sit and waited until we showed up. Everyone was helpful and kind and there was no criticism of my parenting for letting the kids out alone. My daughter and her friend continued trick or treating for another 45 minutes, after which she came home and gave a bunch of extra candy to her brother since he’d had to go home early. This stash included homemade cookies (which I did not examine for razor blades or other horrible things, because I don’t want my kids to get the idea that neighbors with cookies are trying to hurt them) and which were delicious.
AND A BONUS STORY, about a child-led HALLOWEEN REVOLUTION:
Hi Free-Range Kids! We also weathered Sandy well and are fortunate that ALL have power in our neighborhood and there is little damage (just a few trees down, already cleared). School has been called off for the week because of power outages so the kids were really, really looking forward to Halloween. We have a fun block party every year that is so much fun. Imagine my surprise when our township announced (for the first time ever) that they were postponing Halloween to Saturday at 2pm (daytime!).
So the kids revolted! They did not just accept that they could be told not to trick-or-treat on Halloween. They called around to their friends, knocked on doors, and saved Halloween night. Honestly, it was one of their best Halloweens ever! Other neighborhoods nearby (who still did not have power) even came over to join in, grateful their kids had something to do. We gave out all of our candy! – Lollipoplover