Friday, September 2, 2011

Helicopters don't fly... they just beat the air into submission

For some reason, this blog has morphed into one about cooking, mostly. Yet part of my life, my job, my day-to-day is also parenting. In making a home for my family, being a Mom is probably my first and last concern every day. That said, this Slate article has been making the rounds on Facebook and elsewhere. It links back to both a 1979 checklist of first grade readiness and another blog post on Free-Range Kids. As the parent of a first-grader, these posts really made me think.

Can your child meet 10 out of the 12 criteria for 1979 readiness? We were doing great
4. Can he draw and color and stay within the lines of the design being colored?

8. Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend's home?
And thus the rounds on the internet...

No. My child cannot "travel alone in the neighborhood" and never has. And no one would expect it of either of us. But it did make me think that maybe, in being there all the time for our kids, we're all a little too "there."

I firmly believe that raising a child means helping him or her grow into a responsible adult who can go out into world with the self-knowledge, confidence, and basic skills to make good choices and function well. "Socialization" has been my watch-word since our first trip to the playground. And this list showed me that the standards used to be a lot lower. (Come on - first graders are reading chapter books and drawing with perspective now!) Yet some of those important, basic, SOCIAL skills were mastered much earlier.

So I am reminded that, sometimes, being there means taking a big step back and letting go. Not that I'm going to be the only mom the in neighborhood who doesn't walk her child to and from the bus stop (a school no-no)...but I'll think about it.

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