It is hard to raise a free range child these days and mostly it is my own darn fault. I let fear take over. Alec and I listened to the author of free range kids speak this past week and that has me thinking about how we are teaching these kids of ours about the world. I grew up riding my bike by myself with darkness as my cue to go home. I walked home alone from the bus stop. Through the woods!
Now everything is prefaced by a warning. The kid’s game I downloaded for my phone came with a warning. No, I am not kidding. Apparently they felt they had to remind me to never leave my child unattended. The game, they advised, was not a babysitter and it is DANGEROUS to leave a child unattended. Before the game would work, I had to click that I had read and agreed to NEVER LEAVE MY CHILD ALONE. Even if I did leave her alone, she has my phone. Full of numbers. She could call for help.
But really, she had my phone…where was I going to go.
Today I asked Gemma if she wanted to go outside and play in the rain.
“No”, she answered…”I’ll get wet.”
“Yep, that is kind of the point.”, I replied and assured her that it would be fun.
Reluctantly she followed me out after the promise of 2 stars on her chart for the effort.
Slowly she creeped out the front door. Whining.
Then she loved it and did not want to come back in.
I wanted to put the camera inside and I left her out in front of our house. By herself. In the rain. She did not even have my phone to play that game (or call for help.) I stood and watched from the doorway, not because I was scared for her safety, but because it was wonderful just to watch her play in the rain.
I want my kids to be free to enjoy childhood, free to make messes, free to go out and get wet. I want them to be free to be alone.
I want to be free of the fear.
Photo Notes: D3 with Lensbaby Composer lens and my old SB-26 flash