I was reading another blog this morning and it occurred to me the many things I did as a kid (that were never a big deal then), that I would never let my kid do now. Then I wonder if what we did was really as bad as it seems or are we just too protective of our kids now. Let me name a few:
1. I stayed home with my brother after school starting at age 10 1/2. He was 8. We came home on the bus and stayed there until my mom got home around 5. I started dinner and did laundry and we watched a lot of tv.
Just this year we have let my oldest daughter stay home after school by herself. She was 12 in November. It was a big deal. She does not start dinner but will do laundry if I remind her. There is no way in hell I would let the other two come home with her.
2. At age 11 ish I would ride to the store on my bike, with my dog, to get soda or whatever for my mother. The store was 2 miles away and I had to ride down a very busy road that actually had a Route number vs. just a street name. I have no idea how I didn't get killed or how my dog didn't get run over. No helmet, of course. I would also ride to school (same distance) and to a local pool to swim all day. (with no parent and no lifeguard)
Strangely, this is the same parent who wouldn't let me ride to a different store on a safer route to watch the kids play a video game. Go figure.
My kids would never bike to school which is about the same distance as what I used to bike. And there aren't even any major routes to travel on, they are all roads--but people drive like jackasses and there isn't any shoulder to speak of. Biking to school is unheard of these days. No wonder everyone is overweight and unhealthy.....
3. I climbed Mt. Katahdin with a friend of mine when we were sophomores in high school. I know we were this age because she had just gotten her license and could drive. We packed a lunch with soda and water in a back pack and off we went.
Go ahead. Google Mt. Katahdin and see what you come up with. See how really crazy this actually was. We had no cell phones, (they didn't exist), no GPS, no means of staying overnight if we got lost, no real plan--nothing. Just hopped in the car and went. Turns out we went up the trail you are supposed to come down and thus went down the trail you are supposed to go up. How we didn't fall on the way down and break an ankle, I have no idea. And a Mt. Katahdin climb is an all day affair. Like from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. People die up there. No way in hell would I let my high school aged kid do that now without some adult present. Crazy. Yet we were fine.
4. I played sports every season and living out in the middle of nowhere, we often had away games that were 2 hours away. During basketball season, this would mean that we wouldn't get home until 11:00 at night sometimes. Sometimes the bus would drive by my house and drop me off, but mostly the bus brought us all to the high school. I would then walk home, at night, in the dark, often alone. Granted, we lived 4 blocks from the high school, but still! 11:00 at night?? Alone? Yet, it really was no big deal as we all were doing it unless you had a car. Which I did not.
5. I remember one or two times during Christmas season that my mother would drop us off at a movie (again aged 11ish) to watch while she went shopping for our presents. An 11 and a 9 year old. At the movies. Alone. Unheard of in this day. In fact, someone would probably call the police on you.
6. Again, around age 11 or 12 (this all happened before I moved to another school during 7th grade so I remember the age pretty well), during days off--I'm guessing a teacher service day--we would walk the mile to the bus stop, take the city bus into Bangor (which is a pretty big city in Maine), go to the Bangor Public Library, visit at the library for a couple of hours and then take the bus back home. Again. Alone. C. R. A. Z. Y.
I swear, we were perfect bait for child predators. Perfect.
Which brings me to my next question--are we too over protective of our kids these days? Or have times really changed and we need to be this way? It's hard to know when to let kids have freedom and when to keep them nearby.
Do you have any crazy stories from when you were a kid that you would never let your kid do now?
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