Okay, today we’re going to start with a quiz. Everyone loves a quiz, so here goes. Now this is a who said quiz, and even though you think it was all said by Obama, you’d be wrong.
1. “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”
A. Karl Marx B. Adolph Hitler C. Joseph Stalin D. Obama E. None of the above
2. “It’s time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few and for the few… And to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity.”
A. Vladimir Lenin B. Benito Mussolini C. Idi Amin D. Obama E. None of the above
3. “(We)…can’t just let business as usual go on, and that means something has to be taken away from some people.”
A. Nikita Khrushev B. Che Guevara C. Evo Morales D. Obama E. None of the above
4. “We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own…in order to create this common ground.”
A. Enver Hoxha B. Hugo Chavez C. Kim Jong II D. Obama E. None of the above.
5. “I certainly think the free-market has failed.”
A. Karl Marx B. Lenin C. Molotov D. Obama E. None of the above.
Answers at the bottom of the piece.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting rather tired of the campaign e-mails I’m receiving everyday that number in the hundreds. What gets me is that one group in particular, will send out a frantic message in the morning say that if this or that particular candidate doesn’t get a donation from you in the next hour it will all be over for the Rep. come Nov. Then later in the day the same group send out an e-mail saying something like. “good news. Our candidate is now leading in the polls. Please help by sending money to help him make that final push to the finish line. Next day it starts all over again.
Well, I’ve had it. No more money to anyone. Take the money you use to pay the people who write this hair on fire stuff and give it instead to the candidate. But enough already with the doom and gloom and every things coming up roses routine.
I’m also getting tires of Karl Rove telling us his version of how the election will pan out. We wouldn’t be having to worry about getting votes if he had kept his double chin out of it. The Rep. are having trouble because they refused to run with the candidates the people wanted and instead did everything they could to replace them with RINO. I have no sympathy for any of them.
Now here’s a bit of interesting news and guess what, sanity is all over it. Have you heard of the “Free Range Kids Project?” Well, I hadn’t either until the other day and it sounds like it’s bringing back common sense.
Most school field trips are to places students might never go on their own; a museum, a play, a nature preserve. The idea of this program is to open kids wide to the wonderful world. This spring, one grammar school in Silicon Valley started sending kids to a very different but equally mind-blowing place: there own neighborhood. Yes, they sent them on their own. Without an adult.
The idea was to get children walking around, playing outside, biking to the library–just doing normal kid stuff. Or at least what was normal when we were kids. Today, only 13% of U.S. children walk to school. Only 6% of kids age 9-13 play outside in a given week.
That’s not only sad, it’s a radical new norm: childhood today is spent under constant adult supervision, and often enough, in a car. The results wreak havoc on kids bodies, the environment and any parent with hopes and dreams (or even a paying job) beyond the minivan.
With everyone focused on childhood obesity and “leaning in.” less chaperoning seems like a win-win solution. It increases exercise, and gives more time for moms and dads to focus on something other than how slowly the after-school pick up line is moving.
Yes everyone wants to keep their kids safe, but according to statistics the crime rate today is lower than when we were growing up. It’s back to where it was 40+ years ago. Why shouldn’t kids be doing things on their own” ( At least, kids in neighborhoods not wracked by shootings and drugs: where going outside unsupervised presents a real danger. And that’s where the “Free-Range Kids project comes in.
Lenore Skenazy wrote a book on the subject and wrote a column in the New York Sentinal entitled “Why I let My 9 year-old Ride the Subway alone.” it went viral. A six grade teacher in the Silicon Valley public school system saw it and invited Skenazy to come and discuss his book.
In the meantime, she gave her class an assignment: Do something like Lenore’s son did. Something on your own that you feel ready to do. Just make sure your parents approve. And so, her students did great things: They took their younger siblings to soccer, made dinner for their families–one kid even got herself out of bed and to the bus stop on her own, no prodding, after years of making her mom beg her to get up and get going.
And after that breakthrough day, she got up on her own every morning. Of course, kids could conceivable propose crazy ideas. One year, a boy made a raft that leaked as he sailed on his local pond. (He lived to write the essay.) But since parental approval is required, parents can and should modify plans that are dangerous or just plain dumb.
My favorite one was the kid who decided he would pick up his younger brother. So when school let out, he hopped on the city bus–for the first time ever on his own–and started to ride. But nothing looked familiar. In fact, things keep looking weirder and weirder. He had no idea where he was going and as he admitted to the class, finally he got so scared, “I was ready to scream at the bus driver!”
But he didn’t. He held it together and asked the bus driver what was happening. The driver said, “Oh! You meant to go downtown but this is the uptown bus! All you have to do is get off, go one block over, and take the bus going the other direction.” He gave the boy a transfer.
As he was telling the class this story, the boy said, “Actually, I still have it.” He got out his wallet and showed everyone the slip of paper. Why do you carry it with you?” the teacher asked. After all, it represented a day of terror and humiliation. (She didn’t put it quite like that) The boy just shrugged.
According to Skenazy the boy kept the ticket because that transfer represented freedom. Independence. Courage. He’d been scared out of his wits, on the verge of a very public tantrum, but he had triumphed.
The transfer was proof. It was his golden ticket! It gave him the confidence to go anywhere from now on, because he knew that even if he screwed up or felt scared, he’d be okay. “Now imagine if his mom had come with him,” She’d have gotten them on the right bus, no problem. But would that little boy remember that day for the rest of his life? I doubt it.
A school in Oak Knoll’s Calif decided to try the program. They sent 700 parents an email announcing the undertaking along with some materials to explain it more fully. About a third of the parents signed on and according to the principal it was a huge success. With the school’s endorsement even anxious parents were willing to loosen the reins a little. they let their kids ride their bikes to the park, play at the playgrounds unsupervised, take hikes, bake cookies, run errands–for a couple weeks, the highest-tech place on earth was a throwback to 1972.
The most amazing part of this story was not the transformation of the kids, or even the neighborhood. It was the transformation of the parents. “this has really changed our lives!” wrote a mom named Gina on a post-project survey. She’d allowed her 5th grade son to go to the store by himself, and when he came back quickly, as she’d requested, she had proof positive that he was willing to be responsible. ”
Even those parents who didn’t go through the whole program began to ask why they had been so afraid. Was allowing your child to play out of door or run to the store such a scary prospect? They decided it wasn’t after all.
I think the whole point of this is clear to those of us who grew up with parents who trusted us and who thought little about letting us be kids. Children won’t be afraid if the parents refuse to allow it. In todays world too many parents keep reminding their kids that straying form their side might be harmful. There forced to wear protective gear when doing what we did with complete freedom. Ride bikes, roller skate, play on the jungle gyms, and swing as high as possible without going over. Parents, our parents expected cuts and scrapes, and yes even a broken bone but they never said we couldn’t do it. Surprisingly the rate of child kidnappings is actually lower today than when we were kids. It seems that way because 24/7 news makes it seem that way. We’re raising kids that are afraid of their own shadows.
Ah, but you say Billie, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Sadly, I do. My son as a fifth grader almost got us thrown off the military base where we were stationed oversea’s, fell off a walk and suffered a fractured skill and confusion, broke his arm and had to have it reset three times, got in a fight with a neighbor kid and got a black eye, and that was just the start of it. I could go on. But not once did it ever occur to me that these weren’t things that happened growing up. He was being a boy. And he was with capital letters.
Just drive through any housing area’s and tell me how many kids you see playing out of doors? How many kids riding their bikes, swinging on their backyard swings, just out playing ball, and if they’re out there, how many parents are standing there watching them?
And now for the answers to the quiz—-
1. E. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/29/04
2. E. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 5/29/07
3. E. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/07
5. E. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/07
6. E. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 9/2/05