Kids and Strangers

I’ve been reading the Free Range Kids blog for a little while now. This blog came out of a book, written by the blogger Lenore, about the idea that kids are not unsafe if you leave them alone and when you give them responsibility, whether they are 16 years old, 11 years old or even 6-7 years old, you’re not endangering them but empowering them. And on top of that, the fact that current society sees all of these activities as dangerous to kids is borderline psychotic.

It has been interesting so far, but the first post I would really like to talk about is this one. The story actually starts in this post (linked inside the new one as well) about the Virgin-Air Airline who forced a man to move from his seat just because he was seated next to two boys, 8 and 10 years old. The 33-year-old firefighter was immediately suspected as a secret pedophile just because he was male. This is a great blow to this man’s honor and to human decency in general.

After that story was posted, Lenore posted two letters she got in response. One stating how right Virgin Air is of their action because 99% of pedophiles are male (so, by obvious “logic”, 99% of males are pedophiles, right?) and another one, which I linked to first, that tells an interesting story by a reader who says that when she was 4, she, her mother and her 1-year-old sister where going cross country by bus. They were poor and discovered mid-way that they were told wrong and they won’t have enough money to reach their destination. At one point, the mother was told that each child must have his own seat. So, the reader, then 4 years old, was sat next to a stranger.

What happened? Did he abuse her? Did he kidnap her? Did he hit her? No.

The little 4-year-old talked his ear off, spilling her entire, although short, life story, including their latest troubles. He was a military man in full uniform and before he stepped off the bus, he gave the kid a 100$ with orders to give that to her mother. Mr. Army-man saved their trip and they would probably have been in a lot of trouble if it weren’t for him, showing that not all strangers are dangerous and some of them can be a blessing.

I don’t have kids myself and won’t have for quite a while but the subject of education always interest me. And I believe that when I have kids, I will trust them. Slowly and then completely. And after reading some studies on the subject, I do believe that such protectiveness stunts personal growth and independence and the kids that go through that grow up to be shy, incapable followers and not strong leaders. I say that trust needs to be built slowly, one stone at a time, but it has to be built. Even with your child.

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