I've been thinking a lot about kids in general, only now it's thinking about what I would do or not do, rather than thinking about children in the abstract. You know, the little people that exist around us, make noise and say cute things in tiny clothes, and what is the deal with all their issues?
Like okay, walking to school. I went on a walk recently and all the kids were coming out of class and their parents were picking them up! And not in cars, on foot, so they were close to home. This is in a residential neighbourhood and I'm not referring to the 5, 6, 7 year olds who probably need some supervision. These kids were 8, 9, 10... They couldn't get home themselves? None of them? I did see one about to hit the road alone, but then he took out his cell phone and I died a little inside.
I got my first cell phone when I was 25. If I could get through life without one until then, every kid can. I mean, come on! Kids are coddled. And I know there's a lot of paranoia about children being carted off by strangers, but your kid probably has a better chance of drowning in a neighbour's inground pool than getting snatched off the street by some random pervert. Risk assessment, man.
Know what I think is a risk? Making children grow up in a risk-free environment where they never face situations alone. All this crap about keeping kids safe is bogus nonsense. Kids are supposed to get hurt, get lost, cry, make errors and then learn from it. If you're a parent, you'll probably suffer worse for watching it happen, but you make the choice to be a parent, so live with it!
I've heard of elementary schools no longer allowing kids to walk home alone. It's either the bus or getting picked up by your parents. Lame, lame, lame. And this is coming from someone who got flashed on the way to school one day when she was 12. It's become my favourite story. Not that I'm angling for kids to get flashed, but in all honesty, every shitty experience a kid has is just something that will either build character or give them a great ice-breaking story for adulthood.
I have a distinct memory of "running away from home" when I was 5 or 6. That is, I took my baby blanket, wrapped my favourite toys inside of it and tied it to a stick like a hobo. I then announced my intentions to leave and never come back and marched into the sunset. I went far off into the neighbourhood, out of my mom's sight.
I came back in about 10 minutes. My mom never chased me down or asked me to come back. Inside the house she informed me how ridiculous I had behaved. Mom: 1, Me: 0.
Today's mother apparently doesn't let her child out of her sight. Today's mother in that case would miss out on the opportunity my mom had for a smooth passive power play in which she emerged victorious and I defeated.
I'll tell the story of the flashing another time. It really is a goodie.