Free-Range Children – That’s How We Rolled

There is a terrific post by Jen Hatmaker on the often insufferable nature of today’s parents, hell-bent on making their children’s childhood years “memorable.”

Hatmaker rolls her eyes at this notion as do I. I have long declaimed that beginning with my generation, those of us who came of age in the 1980s, have been — and continue to be — the worst parents in the history of parents. Of course, there are exceptions, but when I think of how parents act today vs. how they acted decades ago, well, it’s like we were raised by wolves.


Feral Children. Me (left) and my childhood friend, Bobby, in someone’s backyard on our block. My weren’t those some stylish pants!

So taken was I by this piece that I posted it on my Facebook page. One friend wrote that her command was that the children we not supposed to bother her unless blood was involved. Another followed up that she commanded that it be arterial bleeding only! How many times did I bang on the back door to be grudgingly let in, covering my gashed knee with a dirty hand only to have my mother swab Mercurochrome on the wound — damn that stuff, now banned, hurt like hell — and tell me not to come back until dinner!

And my mother was the softy in the neighborhood!

Hatmaker writes:

It no more occurred to my mom to coddle us Precious Snowflakes than it did to quit drinking a case of Tab a day. If you told my mom to craft a yearly time capsule for each child to store until graduation, she would have cried tears of laughter all the way to Jazzercise.

I could have written every single one of those words. Except my mother never did a day of Jazzercise!

She continues:

She [Mom] said get the hell outside, and we did. We made up games and rode our bikes and choreographed dance routines and drank out of the hose when we got thirsty. I swear, my mom did not know where we actually were half the time. Turned out in the neighborhood all day, someone’s mom would eventually make us bologna sandwiches on white bread and then lock us out, too. We were like a roving pack of wolves, and all the moms took turn feeding and watering us. No one hovered over us like Nervous Nellies. 

And never one time, not once did I feel unloved or neglected. 

Me either.



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