So, I saw the news article tonight about the free range kids being picked up by the cops and now the parents are suing.(Welcome to America.) When did we start referring to kids playing in their neighborhood as “free ranging” chickens? In my day, it was called things like: “Beat it! You’re getting on my nerves! Get your ass outside and play! Get out of the house so I can clean!” My parents didn’t call it “free ranging,” but I’m glad they did it. I had a decent sized neighborhood radius that I couldn’t cross and it challenged me, freed me, taught me how to be independent and strong. I would stay within my radius because my mother was a great cook, folded my underwear and I didn’t want to be kidnapped by anybody that owned a microwave or didn’t understand the value of good fabric softener.
Our group of neighborhood kids looked out for each other, were accountable to each others parents, survived, and learned to set our own boundaries. My parents didn’t know they were “free ranging,” they just wanted some peace and quiet and trusted in my ability to not ride my bike off a cliff. My best memories as a kid are from adventurous bicycle rides, walks alone and exploring my neighborhood with friends. We kept each other safe, observed some really odd things, used our imaginations, pooled our allowances for French fries, and learned how to be independent and think for ourselves. We always made it back before the sun set; knowing our asses would be grass if we didn’t. (Parents could still spank you back then.) And IF the cops would have had any concerns; they would call our “mother hen” or take us back to the “rooster” FIRST! Without ruffling any feathers, detaining us for 5 hours or calling CPS to intervene. Those were the good ol’ days.