Mom, How Come the Kids in These Old Books Are Allowed Outside Without a Parent or Cell Phone?
Harriet the Spy. Encyclopedia Brown. Meg and Charles Wallace, Ramona, Beezus, Pippi, and that kid from My Side of the Mountain. They all shared something other than spunk: freedom of movement.
It was a given in midcentury children’s literature that the protagonists would venture off on their own. They solved crimes, befriended beavers, and saved parents who had become stuck in other dimensions. But the normal stuff they did—hopping on their bikes, walking into town, playing outside—has become almost as mythic as the ability to fly or cast spells.
I was just reading an essay by a mom who said it actually felt sad and unnerving to read the 1964 book A Pocketful of Cricket to her son, knowing he would not be growing up in an era affording him anything like the freedom she or the boy in the book had enjoyed.
And as sad as that is to contemplate, it is also infuriating. There is no reality-based reason kids today can’t be out and about on their own. Our culture seems to think nothing of depriving the people we ostensibly love the most—children—of the chance to be fully alive when they are young. Having adventures. Meeting crickets. Making some memories when something goes totally wrong or totally right.
We say we can’t let them have the freedom their parents and grandparents enjoyed because we are trying to keep them safe. But this relentless focus on safety only makes sense if we are talking
Article from Latest – Reason.com