Do You Let Your Kids Play Out?

>> Feb 9, 2010

When you look back over your childhood, what do you see? Nickie asked me to blog about a dark childhood memory* and I said sure, why not, how hard can that be, right? Everybody must have at least one of those, I must be able to come up with something.

You'd think so, huh?

It's been over a week.

Nothing.

Looking back at my childhood, pre hormone riddled teens, everything looks fun and simple. Sure there are some bad bits, arguments and what-not, but I wouldn't call them dark.

I picture myself happy,

I picture myself playing.

And mostly, I picture myself outside.

I can not think back to my childhood without thinking about the days spent roaming the neighbourhood on bikes and rollerskates (not at the same time you understand - that would just be silly) with friends.

I see myself taking my dog for long meandering walks, lying down in tall grass and poking around in rivers.

Paying kerby and riding our bikes down the canal to stare at the 'haunted house'.

Riding down to the library, the basket on my bike filled with books to return.

Climbing trees, and catching tadpoles.

Exploring and discovering.

Sent out with instructions not to come back until dinner, with little more than the Green Cross Code and Stranger Danger to arm us against the world, this was my childhood. We would be out all day and no-one knew where we were, we weren't being watched over or supervised, there were no emergency mobile phones, or even phone numbers, tucked into our pockets, no-one to sue or blame if it all went horribly wrong.

We could have drowned or been run over. We could have fallen from trees and broken our necks. Anything could have happened to us, we were simply trusted to look after ourselves.

Were our parents irresponsible or just sensible? What do you think? Me, I'm all for free range kids, but I say this from the safety of my Finnish village. Do you let your kids play out and roam free, or is the world you live in too frightening these days? Do you think denying them this freedom is denying them important life lessons or putting them at unnecessary risk?


*Actually checking back Nickie asked me to do no such thing, it was an entirely different meme.  So I spent a week thinking about something that didn't exist. How incredibly productive of me. Sorry Nickie.

Other Family Related Questions:
Do You Eat Out Of Date Food?
The TV Dilema: how do you manage it?
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