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03/15/2015

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This is on my mind too. I spent so many happy hours playing in creeks and trees without adults. I worry my son won't be able to do the same, either bc the woods won't exist or he won't be allowed to explore unsupervised. Did you hear about the MD couple that were found negligent for letting their 11 and 6 year olds walk home from the park by themselves? I used to babysit when I was 11, just 23 years ago. What is happening??

I just listed to Invisabilia about a blind man whose mother allowed him to explore his world on his own. The title is something about Batman because he uses echolocation to find his way. His eyes were removed before he turned two because of cancer. The theme was expectations. This part was about how blind people are often taught dependence. I think you would really like it. I thought about Elias, a blind boy with canes who navigates better than most without.

I heard parts of both these stories on NPR and would love to listen to more. The MD case baffled me as I too babysat at 11 and in fact started at age 9 when the parents were nearby coaching but by 11 was on my own with two kids for hours at end. Plus I walked to school with a friend alone starting in 2nd grade, and I too wonder what happened to allowing kids more freedom. With Elias its always been a bit harder but I have faith that someday Olive would look out for them both if they ventured off together. In Seward they have gone on little bush-wacking treks where we can still hear them but they are off in the "wilderness". I know for me as a kid there wasn't even parents in earshot and yet if we needed them we knew how to find them and they were there to help us make sense of what we learned. I think its still possible today, at least here in Alaska where we still have plenty of woods to play in...

How strange, Christy. I was walking recently in the small Urban Forestry behind my house in Portsmouth thinking about you in big Alaska and your continued pull to move further into the wilderness in Seward. I was wondering if our childhood time in Vermont influenced you at all as an adult so drawn to nature. And I thought, as I sometimes do, of that bird (Fronzie bc of his few long feathers on the top of his head) we tried and failed to parent properly. And oh yes, I remember the crying. Wailing actually. I still feel like we let that poor creature down, but my dad did help comfort us. We had all the freedom in the world, all day every day, to go as far as our feet would carry us. And because of it, I let my kids run free. They come home dirty, sweaty, cut, bruised, with dried tears on their mud streaked faces from God only knows what fight or injury, often with a new horrible swear or saying from some other kid I may or may not really know. But screw it, let them be wild. It's what made us.

Al, I love hearing from you and yes, I think our time there and my time on the Cape strongly influenced my desire to be up here in Ak, as well as our time at Taft, playing in the fields and by the creek. Fronzie, of course:) Your dad took our feelings seriously and talked to us instead of brushing our grief aside and that made all the difference. Glad you are letting your boys run wild b/c yes, I wouldn't change a thing about how we grew up and its those hard lessons that make us stronger. Love and miss you my friend!

I am so happy reading this post and comments! A shift has begun in the way I understand educating our kids. I lament the loss of children's freedom to explore and run free. What kind of world are we shaping for our kids and their future if they cannot roam and play without fear of governmental protective services arresting their parents? This is insanity. Forget progress if progress only means schedules and management and being inside more than out and the extinction of risk. This tide makes me, a product of a traditional, rigorous education, reconsider all that I ever held as true when it comes to a traditional education.

Greta I hear you, loud and clear, and struggle with my job in the mainstream when all I want to do is head out into the woods!

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