Before I put this on my blogroll, I want to write a little about it. Free Range Kids is an awesome site. I’m a big fan because I’ve seen my own family go from very laissez-faire about kid raising to believing that every man with a functioning penis is ready to rape a child.
Even as a kid, I couldn’t go to the park alone, because “there could be predators”. I grew up in a town that is as quiet and boring as it gets. I couldn’t walk 2 miles alone to the next town, on a road that maybe sees 10 cars in a busy day. I could bike, but somehow walking was just too dangerous.
Its odd, because when I lived in a town that actually did have a predator, and a cocaine addict, and a house full of deadbeats who were constantly drunk. I had a lot more freedom to run around and be a kid in that neighborhood. I could play in the swamp, run through people’s yards, play in the woods, and as long as I didn’t jump in without adult supervision, I could swim in the lake. The only rule was that I shouldn’t run into someone’s house.
Suddenly, at the age of 12, that all changed. I couldn’t do anything alone, ever. I couldn’t leave the house. We live in the country- there’s nothing out here to hurt anyone unless you count bees, holes in the ground, and poison ivy. It got to the point where I would take walks late at night, just so I could exit the house without harassment. And this is the area where its not even a neighborhood- there’s just acres and acres of trees. And no, we don’t have a crazy banjo guy or a rapist who wants someone to “squeal like a pig”.
Maybe it was because I was starting to look like a young lady, and my parents are the type of sexist that I can’t stand (the oddest mix of ultra-feminism mixed with ultra-chauvinism). Maybe its because they’ve never accepted that I’m perfectly fine on my own, and can take care of myself very well. Maybe my mother had agoraphobia in addition to the millions of other disorders she has, and so she projected it onto me (but not my brother. chauvinism.) I don’t really know, nor do I care.
I’m an adult now, I can drive, I’ve traveled to Japan and traveled alone there- and even after returning I STILL get this attitude from my family. I’ve learned not to share with them anything in the few talks I do have with them, because they’re bound to freak the hell out.
Better not tell them that I wandered alone in Washington DC. Better not tell them that I talk to homeless people. Better not tell them that I go and pray alone in front of the abortion clinic on occasion. Better not tell them I talk to strangers all the time, and learn the most beautiful things about their lives, or that I offer to help parents with their kids while they’re standing in line.
I am the age my mother was when she had already raised me for a year, and somehow in that time she’s forgotten that if she could handle raising a baby at 23-24 years old, it probably shouldn’t be too difficult to assume that I’m perfectly fine on my own (and I don’t have a baby!).
But its this mantra of fear, fear, fear. Fear what? The world is big, beautiful, and scary, but that’s never stopped us humans before. If it had, we wouldn’t have gotten to the beautiful number of people that we have.
Honestly, I think its Prime Time. When I start having kids, I’m going to avoid that program, or just TV in general. There are books. Lots and lots of wonderful books that are not full of crap that’s meant to scare you into submission. I already spend most of my time in a book or online, anyway. I don’t turn on the news unless its weather, or a huge political event.
And that is why I like Lenore Skenazy. Not sure if I would ever put my kid through a subway system (my kids will have a high chance of getting dyscalculia, so that would just be cruel…) but I’d like to hope that my kids will feel free to roam like little animals, and that their first assumption of people they meet will not be “OMG RAPE RAPE RAAAAAAAAAAAAPE!” They’ll be a lot healthier for it, emotionally and physically.
Anyways, here is my favorite post from her: Luxury of American Worry. I read that post to Mr. Serrano and he fully agreed. Growing up in Mexico, he had a lot of freedom to run around like a wild animal, dirty, free, and often getting scrapes and cuts and (gasp) bruises. He has scars. He even nearly died once, from being bit by a spider. But he’s managed to make it out, and I’ve noted the difference between him and a lot of other men his age- Mr. Serrano just doesn’t give a crap. If he wants to do something, he tries. He doesn’t sit around whining and waiting, he does it. In short, he’s confident.
Booya! The only time he’s ever going to get overprotective is when we have daughters…who will be dating if they’re into it. At least Mr. Serrano knows and admits this. ^_^