This one is mostly in response to a comment I got on Facebook about how hard it is to allow your kids to roam the neighborhood or walk to school when there are so few other children around. I absolutely agree. When I was young and walked back and forth to school without my parents, I was always in a crowd of at least ten kids. And we ranged in age from kindergarten to sixth grade. That is definitely not the case today, especially in our neighborhood. There are simply fewer kids and then fewer of those use the public schools and fewer and fewer of those walk.
Which I find rather ironic, considering the relative danger of walking to school (even totally alone) versus driving in a car. In fact, just the other day Braedan asked me about the most dangerous thing I’d ever done. I paused, wondering if I should say jumping out of an airplane or testifying against a drive-by (actually bike-by) shooter in Compton or running alone in Mexico (all things I’ve done and all undoubtedly dangerous). And then the answer jumped out at me, of course: “Driving in a car.”
I think you can sum up our different generational attitudes on safety and how we welcome (or shun) freedom by looking at porches on houses: Old houses have grand front porches that span the entire length of the house, where people would gather and neighbors were welcome and any old lady who was out working on her flowers or having her morning coffee, could watch the children as they walked past on their way to school. Now, on newer houses, we build back decks, usually behind tall fences, facing away from the street, away from anyone you don’t already know.
Maybe we all need to spend more time out in the front.
And, on a completely unrelated note, if you’re around (and especially if you work there!), I’m giving a talk tomorrow in the Atrium at University Hospitals at 10 as part of the presentation of Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels. Feel free to stop by.