Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Report: Free-Range Kids

Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry
By Lenore Skenazy
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009.

I give up. I just have to type up a ‘book report’ on this one. This book taught me so strongly that fear is never a good reason. Furthermore, just because someone else fears, is never a good reason.

When everyone is “imagining the worst-case scenario. . . the result is a lot of people so busy preparing for the hideous and unpredictable future that they think nothing of trampling the safe and happy present.” (44) Wow, that applies to sooo much!

“Blame and fear are like Mean Girls. They pal around together and make everyone feel dumb and self-conscious”. (56) See them for who they are! Take the masks off!

Historian Peter Stearns: “Since the nineteenth century . . . we’ve progressively come to believe that if something bad happens to a kid, parents have to have done something wrong . . . And ironically, it got worse when children stopped dying. When it became so rare for children to die, it became absolutely unacceptable for them to die. And even though it was unlikely, now you had to worry: Maybe they will.” (97) This is so incredibly mind boggling. It’s all so much about pride and blindness and lack of faith and ingratitude that I just am dumbfounded.

“If you can just put the risk in perspective, the fear gets put in perspective too.” (99) ditto

“Fail It’s the new Succeed” (114) Make it fun & cool to fail! 'We love going to the Storehouse for our food, for a while!'

Play killers—Standardized tests, abduction fear, electronics, Elmo (toy doll), Organized activities (126-28) =]

Run out of something every week to help prevent kids from getting spoiled. (169)

Fifty percent of kids hit walking to school are hit by parents driving their kids to school. (176) too funny

Kids are “40 times more likely to die as a passenger in a car crash than to be kidnapped and murdered by a stranger”. (184) We take risks based on what's important to us. Society simply doesn't value children or their independence.

TALKING to strangers is great, going off with them IS NOT. (187) “Don’t talk to strangers’ is one of the most useless pieces of advice ever foisted on us to foist on our children.” (181) Connect, instead of suspect. (Alice)

“Safeguards and laws and medical advances” make “childhood less dangerous than at any other time in the history of human beings”. (194)

"Our children deserve no less. Long live Free-Range Kids." (195)


Alice said...

Thanks for making me laugh out loud at your storehouse quip! I can't remember how I came into contact with this book in the first place but it definitely helped me overcome some fears and bolstered my deep down feelings that children are more capable than society now will let them be. Now to figure out how to tactfully send this book to my overprotective brother and his wife...

Anonymous said...

You know, Alice, that was the one comment I had no idea whether any one would get. So glad you did!