I hear all sorts of complaints from my kids because they want to do whatever the other kids in the neighborhood do. Now, I’m not crazy strict, but I’m pretty strict. The one thing I don’t compromise on is them being outside alone. They are 3, 5, and 6 and believe they should be able to go by themselves because they want to play with the other children. I feel for my babies some days while I make dinner and listen to them whine. It brings back memories.
My grandma took care of me, my younger sister and our cousins. We spent the bulk of the day outside. Alone. She said we could play unsupervised as long as we stayed on our block. But staying on the block meant we could ride our bikes all the way around the whole block –where she couldn’t see. I can’t count the number of times I was nearly hit by a car entering or leaving the gas station or the bank located behind our house. Not only that, but I’m pretty sure we learned to cross streets by trial and error AND without permission. We often risked our young lives to go dumpster diving at the printing company and furniture store, each prevocatively located the next street over. Oh, and let me not forget the time we wandered a few blocks away. Our quest landed us in a studio flat belonging to a strange young man with a guitar. I thanked God that day after the man performed one song, then let us go unharmed.
Yeah, I have more scary scenarios to share, so it’s safe to say my kids won’t be going out alone unless it’s to our tiny fenced-in backyard. I have my own childhood to reflect on for guidance. It’s too bad, but my children must pay.