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November 04, 2015

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This may sound snippy but not intended that way. Somehow I thought this post would include some sort of meditation on the mom who let her oldest walk alone to school every day and how that turned out [referencing the blog post you wrote about regarding son in college] and what you were going to do to tweak the process with your youngest. Do the same thing over and over but expect different results, etc. Is the company they keep on their walks up to your standards of virtue? I despised riding the school bus and the vulgar conversations I over heard day in and day out (and I attended a girls school).
Anyhow, glad it's November, month of many blog posts.

Oh dear... I LOVE this post, it's absolutely perfect, you write so well! Sigh... I'm so sorry the principal had to say that. I wonder what he said to the three boys who walk without adults. Are they much older? What about groups of children? Is the problem going alone? Is this policy valid for both boys and girls? Are you going to ask him any of these questions or just let it be?

Erik and I were discussing this last night in the context of how things have changed since we were kids (we're 34 and 36).

I distinctly remember riding my scooter and bike "downtown" (I grew up in a little town) from about the age of five or six. It was very exciting to go pick up the Chinese food we ordered and then bring it back home.

Erik grew up more rural, but he also had basically free reign of the neighborhood from a very young age. His mother, a preschool teacher, is very firm about the need to allow children age-appropriate autonomy.

And yet - I can see how it's hard. In my line of work, I see kids who are injured by bad drivers or bitten by dogs on a fairly regular basis. We're actually going to take a case to trial where a 6 y/o rode his bike directly in front of my insured driver (he's fine, by the way, just a broken leg). Even those experiences don't make me think that kids shouldn't be allowed to exercise their autonomy and freedom; they do make me aware of the potential consequences of not gauging your child's abilities appropriately.

It's unfortunate that the principal said Stella needs an adult to accompany her. What are you going to do? Talk to the principal or just politely ignore the note? I also think it's great that Stella has enough self-confidence to identify when she doesn't like what the other kids are saying and let it roll off her back.

The dog issue is my biggest worry, Ariella. Last year there were a couple of college students who were repeatedly irresponsible with their unleashed dogs, living in a building my kids walk by every morning. I called the management multiple times; I called the police multiple times. They're gone this year, but if they weren't it would be a barrier for me.

I haven't decided quite what to do about the principal. She didn't send a note home; she just mentioned it to Stella yesterday afternoon. She and I have a cordial relationship and she knows the vibe of the neighborhood. So I'm optimistic, if annoyed.

L, thanks for the kind words about the post. I think the problem is the solitary walk -- I haven't heard anything from the moms of the kids who walk together without an adult. I do wonder if the boy/girl difference is a factor. She never said anything when Pete walked alone, but he was a bit older at the time than Stella is now.

My friend babysat a 10-year-old this past summer. He was amazed to learn that he was old enough to walk around the closed loop block (about 1/2 mile, no streets to cross) in a single-entrance residential subdivision. Her 9YO has been doing it for 2 years.

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