“We just try.” The sad story of a mom who lets her six year old play outside – and has a “concerned” neighbor call the police and Child Protective Services. There's nothing she can do about it.
It's not at all like that here in Paradise, Utah. Kids are still “free range” around here. My neighbor's kids romp in “the forest” (an acre of pines) on our property. Most young boys own guns (and use them), and not just .22s. All through the valley, the attitude of parents is much like it was where and when I grew up. Kids can play outside, they wander far from home sometimes, and nobody calls either the police or Child Protective Services. We frequently see kids riding bicycles without helmets, and kids riding in the backs of pickups.
But where I recently moved from (the San Diego area), this wasn't true at all. I can't even imagine the response to some kids riding in the back of a pickup – it would surely be on the news, and those kids would almost certainly be taken away from their parents and put into the foster system. The parents would be in jail.
Is America better off for this kind of extreme protectionism? Are the kids better off for it? I think not, on both counts. Not that my opinion counts for very much. But at least I'm living in a place now where most people seem to agree with me on this sort of issue. I hope that lasts as long as I do...
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