Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Long Story Short

Joe and I recently grabbed a slice at a Mom & Pop's pizza place in the country town where he grew up. We watched two little boys ditch their bikes by the front door and come racing in to speak with the owner. When the opportunity presented itself, I asked if they were hers, to which she responded, "Oh, no; they are neighborhood kids who love to stop in when they're out exploring." One simple comment and a conversation was born between (just) us.

I was appalled by the thought of such young (8-9) kids having the freedom to ride around town, with no supervision. Joe immediately defended the act, claiming that as a boy, he'd sometimes leave on his bike at nine in the morning, not to return home till dark. Then came the analysis of then vs. now, styles of parenting, maturity of kids, presence of opportunistic pedophiles, and dangers.. dangers.. dangers. Later in the day, as we followed a fairly major highway out of town, we spotted the boys. They were riding on the shoulder of the road, about a mile or so from where we had originally seen them. "See... is THIS okay?" asked I, all huffy and puffy. Joe just laughed, knowing what a worrier I am... even about the children of others! Hey, with my ethnic blend, I was born to worry; that's what purebred Russian Jews or Italians do best... the combination thereof is brutal.

You all know the horror stories to support my side of the argument; examples abound on a daily basis. If by some remote possibility you are not aware, just tune into Nancy Grace nightly. She goes from one story to the next to the next; and my Mom watches every single night. So, if I've missed a tragedy, surely I'll receive the update in the a.m. Kids of all ages are almost always involved, with Nancy at the helm, in their support.

Now, the long part of the story would be to recite many of the cases supporting my "helicopter" parenting style. Just one example, though, would be mention of the time a total stranger, from a city over a hundred miles from here, found our little cul-de-sac and approached an 8-year-old friend of our boys, enticing him into the car. The boy ran away and home (just across the street); he alerted his parents, who called then called the police. The guy was quickly picked up, as he cruised yet another residential area. Ask me how frightening this was.

On Joe's side of the coin, there is very little defense; however, below is one little saga that supports his case. I don't know how I missed this older article of a mom's explanation as to why she allowed her son this experience: AloneOnTheSubway
Incredible, right? Would you execute such plan?

You just can't hover enough, in my opinion, in protecting our children from the woes of the world. Just tune into Nancy Grace.

Apologies... it's not such a short story, after all.