Lenore Skenazy of The New York Sun left her 9-year-old son at Bloomingdaleâ€™s with â€œa subway map, a MetroCard, a $20 bill, and several quarters, just in case he had to make a call.â€
Several hours laterâ€¦he turned up at home, safe and sound.
Half the people she told that story to were, but for what reason? Have we come to distrust our fellow man so much that we feel the need to keep children under lock and key so that they have no chance to foster any type of independence? I think we have, and Lenore would agree.
The problem is not that we arenâ€™t aware of the risks, and havenâ€™t heard stories of what can happen, itâ€™s that â€œwe all know that story â€” and the one about the Mormon girl in Utah and the one about the little girl in Spain â€” and because we do, we all run those tapes in our heads when we think of leaving our kids on their own.â€
Except, instead of making them safer, locking them up just makes them dependent and afraid of the world.
The statistics show that this is an incredibly rare event, and you canâ€™t protect people from very rare events. It would be like trying to create a shield against being struck by lightning.
So perhaps itâ€™s time for everyone to just relax a little bit, trust a little bit, and give a little bit, because otherwise, what kind of world have we created for ourselves?