While my father is far from perfect, I am sincerely grateful for his understanding of this principle. In his wisdom, he allowed me to experience life and to make my own decisions (including my own mistakes) according to my maturity and the trust I had earned through my previously demonstrated responsibility. Inch by inch…well, more like foot by foot, my father loosened the rope and eventually cut it.
Awhile ago I came across an article of a mother who similarly resisted the growing trend of paranoia among parents. Lenore Skenazy allowed her 9-year-old son find his way home in New York City. The result? In her own words, “My son got home, ecstatic with independence.”
Skenazy relates, “Half the people I’ve told this episode to now want to turn me in for child abuse. As if keeping kids under lock and key and helmet and cell phone and nanny and surveillance is the right way to rear kids. It’s not. It’s debilitating – for us and for them.”
She also quotes a spokesman for the research center STATS.org who, in reference to the awful but rare violent acts committed against children, said:
“The statistics show that this is an incredibly rare event, and you can’t protect people from very rare events. It would be like trying to create a shield against being struck by lightning.”
Skenazy closes by saying:
“The problem with this everything-is-dangerous outlook is that over-protectiveness is a danger in and of itself. A child who thinks he can’t do anything on his own eventually can’t.”
In my short 24 years, I’ve lived quite the life…fearlessly experiencing all the adventures and joy life has to offer. I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’m not dead yet. Thank you dad.
PS- Thought you might find the video below a bit more entertaining than the article. Enjoy!