Food for Thought


These days it's all organized play dates, keeping your kids entertained and forking out money for every outing. It's no longer the norm for kids to be bored and use their imaginations to develop a fun game, take the bus, walk or ride to and from school, climb trees, make forts out in the park, play with the kids in their street. I'm not saying that those things don't happen, but it's more likely that they're being taken to and fetched from school, that their lives are over-scheduled, that you're with them 24/7, that they're watching tv, playing on the computer and doing endless homework. Times have changed. And I'm not saying that this 'modern' life is bad. But there is one particular thing in this 'day and age' that I wish was not prevalent. (And no, I'm not talking about all the screaming on those kids programmes - although, what is it with that??)

It's this fear thing. This lurking fear that is continually infiltrating our lives through the media and causing excessive and often unnecessary worry. It's one of the main reasons why our childhoods are dissimilar to our children's. It's why we won't let our kids out of our sight. We're petrified of what might happen to them if we're not there to protect them.

A couple of days ago, I came across a blog written by US writer, Lenore Skenazy called Free Range Kids, and it really hit a nerve. Go over there and have a read. (Start with the FAQs and Why Free Range?) And here is a Radio New Zealand interview with this writer who has caused such a stir in the US. Her words have really struck a chord with me. I do not relish living in a world filled with fear. It really sucks the joy and happiness right out of my life. Geez, that sounds pretty heavy. But you know what? To me, it is. I realize that it's not easy to avoid hearing and reading about the horror stories, but I'm certainly going to start looking at things more objectively now so that I don't get caught up in the hysteria. 

Lenore Skenazy has highlighted something that I've known deep down, but haven't done anything about: I've been 'brain-washed' by the media. I know this because I'm overly-anxious when my kids walk to the dairy or the park without me. And when they first started using the school bus, I worried that they'd get to school safely. But kids need some degree of freedom to learn, grow and become independent, so I let them go. And I love the look on their faces when they return. That look that says 'I'm capable, I'm trusted.' 

And this over-the-top, often unsubstantiated fear? All these scary TV programmes? All the media hype about dreadful situations blown out of proportion? Enough already.

I'm gonna get me some 'Free Range Kids'.

And a stiff drink.

2 comments

  1. I can't help saying you need a relationship with the big creator to put fear in its place and live in faith and trust - ok I said it!

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  2. You go girl!!! That's what I LOVE about the farm - the kids have absolute freedom to do as they please (with a few basic rules in place obviously). This weekend there were 9 kids ranging from 4-12 and no TV. They built forts on the other side of the dam and played in it for hours, the boys spent hours in their little boat on the water - which they are allowed to skipper themselves, they ride, cycle, canoe etc - and most of that time we are vaguely aware of where they are but not with them - they LOVE it.

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