Friday, January 16, 2009

Free Range Children

Ella prepping green beans she just picked from the garden.

Here is an interesting blog you should all check out. It is Free Range Children- kinda like free range chickens but how that term applies to our children and their freedom and independence. I am particularly taken with this concept as I think I had much freedom as a child and I hope I can find the balance to ensure that my children learn how to be independent and find success at doing things without the help of their parents. As a child I remember;
  • walking to the local drug store to spend whatever money I had on candy of my choice
  • running around the entire neighborhood- reporting home when the streetlights came on
  • hide and seek played on the entire block
  • heading to the nearest elementary school 3 blocks away to play- on our own
  • playing under the grapevines for hours- hiding from everyone
  • playing in the yard- digging, piling, crawling around, creating-imagining
  • walking to the grocery store- fetching things for mom
  • I realize now traffic was my biggest fear- we weren't allowed to cross major intersections, thus limiting our "free range" to about 5-6 city blocks
I really hope that I can realize as my children grow that giving them freedom is an important part of growing up. Letting go will be hard for me (I know) but if I can look on it as giving skills needed for growing up, just like reading and math, the gift of independence is one that will be remembered forever and will make an impact in trust, faith and encouragement. Read more on this movement if you think any of these are ideal you may have.

I think is is too easy to fall into the overprotective role and I need to remind myself I am raising a child to be a person I will be proud of. I choose to look for ways to instill independence and freedom and I refuse to be held hostage to fear that something bad will happen to my children everywhere I turn. If you know me at all, you know I tend to lean towards the positive and I look for the good in people and life. I would wish that view for my children as well.

Nora reminded me that many of the ideas are similar to that of Montessori in terms of creating independence. I wonder what Montessori would have to say about supervision in today's world?

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