As every late afternoon, Adam and I, go for a walk around the block, in our beautiful neighbourhood. Where we stop every two seconds to check out flowers, tiny ants, and even our shadows. We run, we laugh, and we sweat like hell, in this horrible heat! As we do this I ask myself, few years from now, when Adam is four or five years old, will I let him go for walks just like this one, alone? Or even with his little friends?! And no adults around?The answer seems crystal clear to me : It is a firm NO. Then a second question pops in my mind: “But why? I did it as a child all the time”. Yes I did it, and I had so much fun doing it. I remember being five, in a little yellow dress, in my neighbourhood, in my hometown, playing hide and seek with my neighbourhood friends, with no adult supervision at all. Running, laughing, going around the block, removing my shoes so I could run better, with my messy hair, and my sweaty little body! Staying out there for hours, until it starts getting dark, which meant it was time to go home, I would say goodbye to my friends and off I go home. Yes i was only five. I also did it when I was 6,7,8,9….. And I never stopped!
Can Adam do it too? No way! In this scary, scary, scary world, what can happen to a little boy or girl, alone? I will leave it to your wild imagination!
It isn’t that my parents didn’t care enough to deprive me from these little joys, or that the world I lived in was safer than this one, and definitely not because I was an exceptionally responsible little girl! Then why? And why can’t I do the same thing with my child?! I know damn well how much fun can a child have outside, however I don’t think I will ever be comfortable with the idea that my son is out there, alone, in the world where we live in now!
Throughout my childhood, the neighbourhood was the place to play, to meet the other kids and get the party starting! Yet never even once, we were bothered by weird creepy people wanting to harm us in anyway. Were we just lucky? I don’t think so, it can’t be JUST luck!
Although we were alone, us kids, playing outside, yet I am sure so many eyes were on us, protecting us from any possible harm, and I can name few: ” Said”: The owner of the little shop, few feet away from my house; the four neighbours surrounding my house, with their doors open (just like ours was), they would peek through their doors or windows, and check on us from time to time (one of us was theirs anyways); the old men, sitting in the corner, talking while sipping their tea, knowing exactly who each kid was, and if they saw a new one, they would ask who he was, who was his father and where did he live! With all this, why should/would my parents be worried that I was outside alone, playing?! If I had this crew of security “officers” right next door, I sure won’t be worried neither! Unfortunately I don’t! I don’t even know who my neighbours are!! It makes me sad that my son will never know the joy of being free, alone outside, watching the sun come down, or counting the clouds, or running around barefoot alone! Alone, without me, without his dad, without an adult! Yes of course I will always take him to do all these things but I know it wont be the same!
Whenever I was out alone, I would sink in my deep thoughts, I would pretend that I was alone in this whole wide world, and I would start thinking of complicated things, way too complicated for my age! Outside I was a young adult! Outside I was THE big girl! And I know that my son can’t have that!
What happened to the world? Why do we close our doors and not even care to know our neighbours anymore? Why we no longer have “Saids” next door, to be our guardian angels! Why there are no old men sitting in the corner drinking their tea while talking, no phones, no Ipads, nothing! Why don’t we have faith in each other anymore!
How about you? Would you let your kid go out alone with no adults around? Are you scared of the same things I am scared of? What can we do about it? Just sit and watch while we sacrifice our kids’ most momentous moments?