As most American parents, I am fearful of our future as a nation and where my kids will fit.
Arguments about political correctness, safe zones and general inability to find a middle ground seem to draw us further apart. It is mind-boggling trying to balance building kids with high-self esteem and safety. I'm thick skinned, but I mostly worry about my kids. My fears and worries might be the main problem.
Fortress Building Woodsman
My son and daughter just turned 6 and 4. I think of them and try to remember what I was doing at that age. Having just moved to my mother's farm in L.A. (Lower Alabama), it wasn't uncommon to roam off with my brothers into the woods for most of the day. With a machete and the intention to chop down a couple of small pine trees for fort building purposes, we had no plans or supervision. Later moving back to South Florida and being a latchkey kid, I learned how to get into and out of trouble without any parental input. I made new friends by wandering around the neighborhood knocking on doors. I'm sure this shaped my ability to adapt to new situations, solve problems and interact with new people.
My question is this, how on earth will my kids get this same experience? I am definitely part of the problem. I rarely let them out of my sight in my own backyard. The thought of them riding their bike around my gated community is horrifying. I don't seem to be alone though. Most young parents feel the same way.
My kids are adventurous at heart, and the last thing I want to do is tether them to me and my fears. They need to be exposed to new people, new thoughts and more importantly experiences outside theirs and MY comfort zones, but how?
The answer still eludes me.