yourdailyjournal.com

Introducing ‘America’s Worst Mom’

Kevin Spradlin Editor/Content Manager

December 3, 2013

Our list of contributing columnists, both local and otherwise, continues to change.


We have Sen. Gene McLaurin and Rep. Ken Goodman with their political offerings with a Richmond County slant. Congressman Richard Hudson submits a weekly report from Washington, even in the interim, to help keep us apprised of what’s going on at the federal level.


Locally, storyteller J.A. Bolton has been recently added as has Robert Lee, who muses on the political scene and times long past. The Richmond County Historical Society also will contribute a monthly column.


Beginning tomorrow, I’m proud to announce we’ll begin offering a weekly column from Lenore Skenazy. Skenazy, a New Yorker who was given that moniker by American newspapers and other media outlets after it became known that she allowed her 9-year-old son to travel the New York subway system. Alone.


The incident launched Skenazy into the morning news show circuit, then to a cross-country tour of speech-giving that helped illustrate to parents an important message: lighten up.


She believes kids should ride bikes, play in the rain, spend the night at a friend’s house or — perish the thought — simply go outside and play without any organized itinerary or direction parental supervision. She believes kids these days can do pretty much anything and everything we did while we were growing up and, in many cases, do it better.


Worried about safety? Skenazy has an answer to that in her book, “Free Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry).” Long title, sure, but the book has some pretty interesting facts. Facts. Not observations.


Now, Skenazy has a Canadian television show where she goes in and tries to help kids by getting their parents to get a grip on reality. Crime is down. The world is safer than ever before — or at least in a very long time.


“Now my mission is to rescue parents and their bubble-wrapped kids,” Skenazy explains in the promo of her Canadian television show, Bubble Wrap Kids.


Skenazy travels the world, helping to save kids and reassure parents the world is not out to get them. In our world of the 24/7 news cycle, a single kidnapping can seem like many more than one incident has occurred. We’re overwhelmed with details, relevant and not, about every situation that takes place.


In this generation, kids are now treated “as if they couldn’t possibly walk a couple of blocks or make their own lunch or climb a tree without hurting themselves, or struggling too much” Skenazy writes on her blog, www.freerangekids.com.


“Free-Range Kids are sort of old-fashioned. They’re kids who are expected to want to grow up and do things on their own. And then, when they show us they’re ready, we allow ‘em to.”


I read Skenazy’s book shortly after it was published in April 2010. At the time, my children were ages 10 (Noah) and 8 (MacKenzie). The younger one had, and has, more street smarts and the older one had, and has, better internal GPS system. Together, the two are allowed to ride their bikes all over creation. Their neighborhood features a bike path only 3.5 miles from their house. Turn left, and that bike path takes them to Pittsburgh, Pa. Make a right, and that bike path will take them to Washington D.C.


While neither child has ridden to either large city, either child can ride to their friends’ houses, from a few to several miles away. They smile. They have fun. And with Skenazy’s column, perhaps someone here will realize their kids are pretty capable, too, whether it’s riding their bikes or something else. Kids can do some pretty amazing things — if we are willing to let go and give them the chance.