When I was in second grade, my twin sister and I walked 1 mile to and from school every day. The following year, we moved to Germany and attended a public German school off base. In Germany, there is no school bus, there’s just the bus. So to get to school, we walked off base and rode the German public bus. In our free time, we rode our bikes all over base: to the park, the commissary, wherever we wanted. I think this was a great experience, and we never thought there was anything unusual about it.
But now that I’m a mom, I can’t imagine sending Stephen into a foreign country to ride a public bus! Heck, I can’t even imagine letting him ride an American bus unattended! As far as moms go, though, I think I’m a relatively “allowing” mom–I have friends who are shocked that I let Stephen go out front by himself at all, and *gasp* let him walk down the street to the bus stop (school bus! not public bus! And it’s WAY less than a mile!). Hey, I get it, there are bad guys out there, “times have changed” and all, but are we perhaps protecting our kids a little too much? Maybe we should worry more about our boys watching too much TV and playing too many video games than them running around the neighborhood too much?
As summer looms, I am debating how much freedom to allow Stephen (and Adrian!). Up to now, Adrian has only been allowed to play in the backyard without adult supervision, but recently I’ve been letting him play with Stephen and another friend directly in front of the house. Now that Adrian is older and they’re all biking, they are not content to stay in our little radius. So far, they have proven themselves good at listening to directions and street safety. I’m debating just how “free range” to let them be–I want them to be safe, but I also want them to learn independence. Maybe I’ll think about letting Stephen ride his bike to the local park, less than a mile away. My mom wouldn’t have thought twice about letting us go…what does she think about letting her grandson ride to the park?? 😉