Pulled from BoingBoing.Net – and I am looking for comments from a Victoria B.C. or Canadian perspective…
Lenore Skenazy wrote a piece for the April 4 edition of the New York Sun about letting her 9-year-old son find his way home from downtown NYC using the subway system. Many people were upset with her.
Isn’t New York as safe now as it was in 1963? It’s not like we’re living in downtown Baghdad.
Anyway, for weeks my boy had been begging for me to please leave him somewhere, anywhere, and let him try to figure out how to get home on his own. So on that sunny Sunday I gave him a subway map, a MetroCard, a $20 bill, and several quarters, just in case he had to make a call.
No, I did not give him a cell phone. Didn’t want to lose it. And no, I didn’t trail him, like a mommy private eye. I trusted him to figure out that he should take the Lexington Avenue subway down, and the 34th Street crosstown bus home. If he couldn’t do that, I trusted him to ask a stranger. And then I even trusted that stranger not to think, “Gee, I was about to catch my train home, but now I think I’ll abduct this adorable child instead.”
Long story short: My son got home, ecstatic with independence.
Long story longer, and analyzed, to boot: 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.
Personally, I think there is a right age for allowing this kind of exploration. And I guess it also comes down to the environment as well.
I was about 10 or 11, on or about 1970 when my parents dropped me off in a somewhat more innocent and small Victoria B.C.
I spent about an hour downtown before I high tailed it back to my country home some 4 miles from where I was dropped off. The World seemed like a much bigger place then.
I do believe that we live in a World (at least here in the West) where we are constantly exposed to a barrage of fear-filled messages on how dangerous our World is… and that is because there are corporate forces at work that profit from a culture of fear – plain and simple.
The government of Canada (and especially the government of the U.S.A.) totally buy into this culture of fear; terrorists under every rock and baddies around every corner…
I say: The only thing to fear is the Government itself!