Lenore Skenazy from Free Range Kids has lightening-fast tweeted and posted a few wonderful articles in the last twenty four hours. Even though I rarely do a linkdump here on my personal blog, these have been edifying and encouraging reads.
I’ve thought about the support I receive from most vocal quarters regarding the trust and freedom we Hogabooms give our children. Sadly, on any subject we tend to encamp with those who share our same views, fears, trepidation, and judgments. But I wish every middle-class parent/caregiver who kept their child under wraps – in what I would consider the typical style of many Americans – would read this piece: “What The Authorities Can Do If We ‘Take Our Children to the Parkâ€¦And Leave Them There'” a guest post by Trip Gless at Free Range Kids. Gless gives a parent’s perspective on children’s freedom (to walk about town, to go to the park, etc) which includes some “child neglect” statistics, the intent of neglect laws and their confluence with the ogre of molestation and Stranger Danger, and CPS investigation and response to child neglect calls. Rather timely for us I need hardly say, as the article was posted yesterday, the same day of our little CPS visit for Nels’ jaunt to the bus station.
A brief review of the film Babies (2010) at babble provoked so many feelings inside me. First, I am excited to see this film and I have a feeling I will love it. Second, I feel such sadness that when my children were babies I did not have the wisdom then that I do now. Yes, yes, I know, the hindsight so many parents voice, yadda yadda. But for me the pain, although not overwhelming, is acute. I could have enjoyed things much more, I could have been an activist much earlier, and my children could have had a heck of a lot better baby- and toddlerhood. Looking around me I see Americans doing silly, unnecessary, and arduous things around the care of our children due to misguided, harmful, and socially-enforced agendas (please note, I don’t necessarily find these Americans themselves silly, most of them care very much about their children); when I had my own babies I fell prey to many of these things as well (perhaps fodder for a future post). My thoughts and aim these days are to help any individual family so that they can have an improved, empowering, and more dignified family life – whatever their circumstances (in fact just this morning I have two messages in my email queue seeking assistance on these subjects). Yet despite daily positive experiences, sometimes brand-new or not-yet parents ask me for advice or perspective and I feel lost; anything I have to give will likely be lost in the sea of cultural messages they have been getting since far before they ever thought consciously about the responsibilities, work, and joy of caring for another human being.
Sierra at Strollerderby’s babble blog featured a wee piece entitled “Will you be arrested for leaving your kid alone the park?”, which outlines briefly what legally constitutes “neglect” in our United States (so many people I know believe there’s a legal prescribed age a child can be left alone; I think parents sometimes find comfort in this imaginary “rule” as it alleviates them from making their own choices). More importantly, in this brief little blurb Sierra tells us why she’s willing to take the (small) risk of “getting in trouble” for allowing her children a park playdate. And I applaud her for this.
And now to my emails and – joy! – our first day back to Homeschool Sports, which I have been looking forward to probably even more than my children.