Free Range Kids Week: Recalling the Freedom We Had

boytreckphoto by chefranden

Welcome to Free Range Kids Week at Simple Kids!

I am so excited about the upcoming book talk that will take place on Thursday.  This is such a diverse, intelligent, and helpful community – I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids.

The subtitle of this book is Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry.

As I read the book, I couldn’t help but to be reminded of all of the freedoms I had as a child, and how the thought of extending those freedoms to my own children causes me to tense up with worry.

For example, when we lived in Texas, we lived on a very quiet cul-de-sac in a lovely, older neighborhood. At the end of the cul-de-sac was this wonderful spot of nature tucked away at the bottom of a steep hill.  It was an old, dried-up creek bed with tons of trees and a little hill perfect for a child’s first hike.  It was so unexpected and inspiring.

When we first moved there, my mother-in-law and I went for a walk with my oldest daughter to explore our new neighborhood.  We we came across the old creek bed, I sighed and said, “Oh, I would have spent so much time in a place like this as a child.  It’s perfect for hide-and-seek and scavenger hunts and leaf collecting.  Of course, I wouldn’t dream of letting my children play here by themselves now.”

So many of my fondest childhood memories are of exploring the outdoors with my siblings and friends.  We weren’t allowed to leave our neighborhood, but we had plenty of room in those parameters to run free and imagine.  In an era long before cell phones, I only had to stay within my ear-shot of my mother’s voice calling me home. Forts were built, reading nooks were created, mud pies were made and delivered . . . all without my mother standing on the front porch wringing her hands with worry.

On the Free Range Kids website, there is a link to this article titled “How children lost the right to roam in four generations.” I highly encourage reading it for a deeper look at the way the children’s freedom has eroded so quickly.

What do you recall about the freedoms you enjoyed as a child?  Were you allowed room to roam?  Did you enjoy activities or privileges that you are hesitant to allow your own children to engage in?