Saturday, July 25, 2009

Seeing Evil all Around

I would paraphrase this post by Lenore Skenazy of "Free Range Kids", but there is no way I could say it better. When I first heard her compare our culture now to the hysteria of the Salem witch trials, I thought she was seeing things, but I have since come to agree with her. I'm all for caution, and sexual assaults on children MUST be stopped, but losing the ability to trust any adult with a child will cause harm as well. Like the story she quoted about the man who saw a two-year-old who had wandered from her nursery class, but was afraid to stop for fear he would be accused of kidnapping. She was later found at the bottom of a pond. Drowned.

Our children still need adult role models – especially men. Exercise caution and good judgment, but I think that seeing a pedophile behind any adult (or male, if you want to go there) is going too far. Now, this may be age-related. My children are now old enough that I have conversations with them about what is and isn't appropriate and I don't expect to be with them every minute. I think teaching them to be protective of themselves is better than keeping them away from all other adults. When they were infants and toddlers, I did feel much more protective, as I should have.

Just let good judgment, not hysteria rule.

Back from Vacation

I have been enjoying the summer with my children. We have been gone a lot. We live in a small town and while I really absolutely love living here, the opportunities for entertainment and cultural exposure are limited (and, I admit, we don't have access to a pool and it's hot! For several years we had unlimited access to our neighbor's pool and almost never left, but they moved and their house is still on the market). So, we travel. This summer we have been to Florida, Alabama, Atlanta, Texas, and Utah – all driving, so we saw plenty of places in-between too. We have visited a lot of family. Between my husband and me, we have eight siblings and we have seen all but two of them so far this summer. So, I haven't been updating my blog. Most of July the kids and I were on a trip without my husband out west – that's probably a recipe for INSANITY – but we had a great time. I'm lucky that my children travel really well – at least in a car where no one else has to hear them – ha ha.

Free range parenting is getting some attention this summer, along with a few parents who have disagreed with law enforcement involvement with them and their children. I'll probably comment on some of them later. This week Fox News has been highlighting some of the stories on their morning show, Fox & Friends. They found my story and called me about being on the show, but this was the week I was traveling across country alone with my children. Too bad. I love sharing my story and using it as a springboard for discussion. I think we should have more discussions about how being unrealistic about risk causes over-protecting, which actually has own harmful effects.

So, I'll post a little more frequently now. School starts in just 10 days.