Free Range Babes…What’s Your Take?

I stood still watching and was swept away.

The ring of deep, wild laughter, the kind that only comes when a brisk wind whips through your hair as you run and you know you are fully alive. The crack of stick on ball. The shouts to reign the team in for focused effort and inevitable goals.

A stretch of open field, rough tall grass, the fall air swirling in anticipation of winter’s breath to seal the deal, a few friends and a feeling that your whole life is contained in this moment, this perfect state of here and now…this is all a child, a being of any age, needs, really.

As I stood watching my boys, alive and obliviously free, I felt so grateful for the world we offer them. It is simple. It is real. It is full of “Yes!”, with a healthy dose of “No”, mixed in as a safety measure. It is designed to help them connect with nature, with the varied and capable intricacies of the self, with other like-valued people on the path and with the vibrant JOY of life.

It is clear that the world we live in has changed from the time I roamed free, but I pray that it has not driven us to a place where we lock up and guard our children so intently that we may keep them alive, only to have them slowly wither away on the inside.

Every parent has their own take on Free Range Parenting, but I found some fabulous links to spark consideration and convo…
From Sir Richard Branson – Breaking Free recounting a tale of being dropped in a field by his parents and told to find his way home…
To Free Range mom, Lenore Skenazy, and her belief that “…our kids are safer and smarter than our culture gives them credit for…”

Whatever your take, we all wish freedom for our children. We all want that feeling, that rush of secretly watching as they reveal their true and brilliant essence away from our watchful eye. This IS who they are, exploring, expressing, right or wrong, poised or messy, they are living out loud and discovering who they are along the way without a shred of help from us, for a time.

How do you encourage this freedom, this ‘free range’ with your children?
Would you put your child on a New York subway or in a field and let them find their way?
How can we encourage freedom, while keeping our children safe from life’s dangers? Or should we keep them ‘safe’ at all?

I hope to get the juices flowing for grand discussion;)
jenni

Here was that moment… I simply had to capture today, unbeknownst to the subjects at play.
Simple Freedom, but Freedom None the Less

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4 thoughts on “Free Range Babes…What’s Your Take?

  1. We pride ourselves in raising free-range kids who, in-turn, are helping us raise free-range livestock. But I’ll admit that our rural location makes it easier on our psyches and souls, since the distance creates a natural barrier – they’re naturally restrained by the distance they can walk, bike, or ride horses and be back for dinner. So I have to admit that we’re hesitant to free-range them in other places, but then again, we wouldn’t drive our chickens to Boston, drop them off on the T, and tell them we’d be back in a few hours to pick them up!

    • Such a terrific point Flying T…we too are in a somewhat rural setting in Northern Canada (Thunder Bay). Out in nature, along the trails and when involved with community events in that setting, we have no quams sending them roaming. That being said, I haven’t made the leap to let them walk downtown from home and grab us a coffee at the local cafe…They are 6 and 4 so perhaps a little young:) I try to find other creative ways to say “YES” so they are free, but safe. Perhaps need to keep pushing those boundaries as they grow.
      Checked out your site and love it and so admire the life you’ve created for yourself and children, and so glad you connected so I found it:) j

  2. This is important enough to me that I think about it probably every time I let my kids leave the house. I’d love to raise free-range kids but I honestly don’t know how in this day and age – which is what makes the book so appealing to me, even if I wind up not subscribing to everything inside of it. I’ve never read it yet, but I can’t wait to. I’ll have to look over those links when I have some more time, but I wanted to make sure I got a comment in before I leave…. We’ve had so many recent, fairly local kidnappings that I mourn not just for the families of these children whenever it happens, but for the freedoms my children will never know because of them. I don’t want to rob them of anything, but I have a daughter who’s at an age where she can be dropped off at the mall with her friends after school and a son who’s seven years younger and at just as dangerous an age – the age where he can start riding his bike up the street without me walking behind him every step of the way. Every time I tell myself that the likelihood of something happening to them is smaller than I’m imagining, another disappearance crops up. What’s a mom to do?

    • I can so relate Alicia. Thanks so much for sharing what I do believe so many parents feel. We all want to find that balance between providing free-range experiences, while keeping our little ones safe. This book does show a statical angle that surprises one. Another gem to have you thinking about the concept that children have more innate survival instincts and powers is The Continuum Concept. It made me rethink so very much and empowered me to constantly discover new ways to ‘let go’ for their benefit.
      This is not an easy subject, but I have to believe we can find a balance. I’m going to share some more ideas tonight as I reflect on what folks have shared and what we do. Thanks so much for engaging Alicia. I look forward to hearing how it flows as you and read and find your way;) jenni

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