Readers! In response to my downer about dealing with a tsunami of media “What If?”s, here’s one woman’s note answer to: What happens when you, with some slight hesitation, let your child go outside on her own?
Dear Lenore: I understand your anxiety, and can only join the chorus of those saying please, please don’t give up. Your book has SIGNIFICANTLY changed our family for the better, and we were already what I called “half-range” to begin with!
My daughter (10) has been riding her bike to school for a month now, with buddies, but no adult. It started out with just her wanting to and me saying yes, which traveled through the grapevine and triggered a flood of calls from the other moms. “Are you REALLY allowing this? Are you nuts? What if this/that? But but but…” And many conversations and several holes bitten through my tongue later, we have 4 regular riders and many more that, although they aren’t allowed on the school ride, are allowed a wider radius of the neighborhood for riding.
The whole pack of them roam the neighborhood after school and on the weekends, with no adults around. They’re all still alive and well, some of the moms have relaxed and seen the light, and the kids have met many neighbors they didn’t know at all before. One elderly neighbor has been given the nickname “Candy Man” because when he sees the pack of them go by, he goes out to the street with a big bag of candy and lets them each choose one. (Needless to say, they looooove the Candy Man!) Another one has a dachshund they just adore, so they’ll go up and ask if they can “borrow” her dog to pet for a while. Sometimes they’ll show up en masse at another kids house, grab the family dog, and take it for a walk (you haven’t lived until you’ve seen 8 kids walking 1 dog).
Without your book and this site, I don’t know that I would have allowed the school ride. And look what it started! I won’t be taking my daughter to the park and leaving her there on Saturday. I’ll be telling her to get on her bike and GO to the park and hang out with her buddies, and be home when the street lights come on! (Meanwhile, I’ll be leisurely reading on the couch!) — A Free-Range Mom