May 22 has been declared the very first, “Take Our Children to the Park … And Leave Them There Day.” Lenore Skenazy, the author of Free-Range Kids, came up with the idea.
Most of us used to play outside in the park, without our parents, without cell phones, without Purell or bottled water and we survived! Thrived! We cherish the memories! And if you believe the million studies that I’m always publishing here, kids are healthier, happier and better-adjusted if they get to spend some time each day in “free play,” without adults hovering, Skenazy writes on her blog.
I want to be one of these kinds of parents, because I want to raise independent and self-reliant children. I do not want to be a helicopter parent, and I believe children should learn how to do things by themselves. Older children play by themselves in our neighborhood all the time. But Simone and Nadia are simply too young. Maybe in another five years or so.
For now, I am more concerned about being a responsible parent. When something goes wrong, society often judges first and asks questions later.
Years ago, a friend of mine forgot one of his four children at a fast food restaurant. When he and his wife realized what they had done, they immediately turned around and picked up their child. The little girl was standing outside of the restaurant with an employee. The parents apologized profusely and took their daughter home. I think this happened in the 1970s. I am happy to report it never happened again, and the child is now the mother of her own children. If that had happened today, the department of children and families may have been called and the parents may have had to prove they had made an honest mistake.
So, what do you think? Will you leave your children at the park on May 22?