Thursday, May 6, 2010

Week 13: Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy

Lenore Skenazy infuriated America by letting her nine-year-old son ride home alone on the New York subway, in the middle of the day. After she blogged about it, she was grilled on national television by Ann Curry and the rest of the maniacal morning media minions. She was nicknamed "America's Worst Mom". She could have had an emotional meltdown... instead, she stood up for herself and wrote this book! And all I can say is, "Right on!"

This book is chock full of statistics and cold, hard numbers that make you feel stupid for doing all of the worrying you've done since the day you found out you were pregnant. And not a little bit stupid... really, really STUPID.

The fear that the media instills within us every day - about our children being abducted - and the chances that something horrible could happen to them - these reports are based on very rare cases. Over and over, Ms. Skenazy tells us that according to real data, the crime rate is steadily falling, and that it's nearly equal that of the early 1970's. And still, kids continue to vanish from really safe neighborhoods, into their houses.

Kids have to play, kids have to learn independance, and kids have to get outside. And parents need to stop coating kids in antibacterial glop - because it's pointless - and have them get a little dirty instead. And guess what? It's okay to talk to strangers.

I could not put this book down! It was riotously funny and uplifting, and really encouraging to parents who really don't think they're good enough to be parents in the first place... or have their own doubts about their own abilities. If you're a mom, dad, or thinking about "jumping" into either of those roles, I'm begging you to go out and get this book. It's worth it to get a fresh perspective on parenting, and to be encouraged to re-learn how to have fun.

I was so inspired that this morning, I let my four year old daughter make her own scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. (Supervised, of course.) She cracked the eggs, scrambled them, poured them into the pan, watched me flip them, and added her cheese, then I helped her make her own turkey bacon (it doesn't spit) and we did the toast together. She was so proud of herself, even if she burnt her finger (just a little bit).

But boy, was it worth it to see how proud she was.

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