What’s wrong with kids these days? Oh, let us list their crimes.
Kids, you see, are merely the product of their environments. Bad parents lead to bad kids.
And a lousy culture leads to lousy kids.
Kids today are coddled.
They get prizes just for showing up. They’re sheltered from “trigger” words. And they are locked indoors, kept away from the evils of the outdoors.
So-called helicopter parents hover over their kids, keeping them from experiencing any sort of pain, disappointment or failure.
It’s created a generation of gutless wussies.
It’s all around us… like the teenager who was cutting tree limbs with an axe and had his tools picked up by the cops and taken home for “safekeeping.” Or the playground equipment that went unused because it was built on grass… not on wood chips as local laws dictate.
Home on the Range
For kids these days, there’s no such thing as Liberty.
Somebody may get hurt… or, worse, somebody may get sued.
But there is hope – a tiny island of sanity in a sea of nonsense.
It’s called the Free-Range Kids movement… and in Utah it’s now the law.
Ten years ago, syndicated columnist Lenore Skenazy penned a column titled “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone.” She detailed the sense of Liberty her son felt. She wrote about the change in his attitude and self-esteem. And, of course, she told of the bevy of folks who wanted to turn her in for child abuse.
She was quickly dubbed “America’s worst mom.”
But Skenazy didn’t buckle from the social pressure.
No. She started a movement… a movement to let kids be kids.
Along the way, she found one story after another of good intentions turned bad.
In Maryland, for example, a couple got in trouble with the law when they let their 10- and 6-year-old kids walk home alone from a park. In another case, parents got in trouble for letting their kids play basketball… alone in their own driveway. And many parents have had to answer stiff questions when found letting their kids walk to school.
Oh, the horrors.
Skenazy and the rest of her free-range followers say enough is enough.
They got Utah lawmakers to join in.
Last month, Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill that says parents can’t be charged with neglect for letting their kids roam free. They’re now able to walk to school, explore a playground and, holy moly, stay in the car when their parents run into a store.
Here’s what one columnist had to say about the law:
The measure essentially frees parents to parent like every generation that preceded them, before paranoia infiltrated the social consciousness and paralyzed parents with fear of public scorn and reprisal from law enforcement.
Most folks agree with how our culture got to a point where we now need laws that let parents be parents. They blame folks like Nancy Grace who make a career out of fearmongering on the 24-hour news channels. And they blame lousy laws penned by lousy lawyers.
“The media is out there scaring us 24/7, and we live in a litigious society,” Skenazy said. “Everybody starts thinking like lawyers about what could go wrong, no matter how unlikely that is.”
The trend is coming to an end in Utah.
And with some luck, the notion of free-range parenting will once again spread across our nation.
Kids, we pray, will soon roam free.
It’s a victory for our Triad.
Parents are once again free to parent. And kids, oh boy… kids are finally experiencing the mind-altering joy of Liberty.
It’s a prize with far more merit than any participation trophy.