Today I fell upon this little doozy. Brings me to the ultimate question, where did the human trait of common sense go? We live about 20 minutes from a little town called Angola, New York. Look it up on a map, it's pretty damn small.
This is the place where I met my son's father, and I know pretty much everyone in the community and he does. Every day in the summertime the neighborhood kids walk the 2 or 3 blocks to the playground at the elementary school. By themselves. Stupid? I don't think so.
When I first had the question asked by Darrell last summer if he could go to the playground with a group of kids around. I was nervous and asked a lot of questions. So did the other parents, my friends, but we let them go.
They came home fine. Dirty and filled with stories.
Going there a few times, I saw the beauty of it in action. The bigger kids, around 10 or 11, make sure that the little kids, 3-5, don't get hurt. No babysitting but a watchful eye. They hang out on the most top of the playground, calling it their "fort". Similar to no boys allowed but the cute boys could hang around. The kids pushed the other on a swing, if they couldn't do it themselves. They took turns and all way right with the world.
So what happened to the 50's suburbia where the kids went out to play and the adults sat on their porches and socialized? No, not with cell phones or twitter, actually talking.
Unfortunately, we now live in an area where there's a lot of traffic and the playground is a few miles away. I often take my son to the playground in this town, but I still see kids who just show up and then leave before the lights come on.
I know there is a huge risk of sex offenders in every area, I know. But isn't it common sense for a young kid not to trust a strange adult? The first thing we teach kids in elementary school, don't talk to strangers.
And then there's the over dramatization of strangers. My boyfriend was sitting in our car while we were at the local playground one day talking on the phone to his dad about his rounds of chemo. A personal conversation that he chose not to have in public. Darrell and I were playing on the slide and I noticed a bunch of adults talking in a bunch, pointing to our car. We got down, trying to figure out what was going on. Then one of the parents went over to the car, rapidly knocking on the window. I found out later that he was interrogated, why he was there, why he was sitting in the car by himself. They honestly thought that he was a preditor.
It took a while for us to go back there.
So my question is... at what age do we start trusting our own kids? When do we start trusting ourselves to let our children grow to the point where they can ride their bike outside, alone?
It's a hefty question, but I hope that people start waking up and seeing that the world is bad, yes. But we have sheltered our kids to the point where all they want to is sit inside. Not socialize face-to-face and the computer is their only friend.