Kids rise to the occasion. That becomes abundantly clear when we look at what kids get to do — and are expected to do — in other countries, cultures, eras. Here’s a little note that just came in. I cannot think of anything my kids have done in school that rivals this for independence and instilling a “Can do!’ sense of confidence.
Then again, it’s not like I’m saying, “Oh, if only I got to raise them in the USSR!” either.
By a Free-Range Kids reader named Alena:
I grew up in a small town of the former USSR. Even in the first grade we had to behave as adults. Each class was responsible for their classroom, and after classes were finished we had to clean our classroom: map the floor, dust and such. During recess we would go outside and pick up any garbage around the school. We had our own garden behind the school were we grew greens such as scallions, dill, parsley and cabbage which were served then in the school lunchroom. From the 6th grade till the end of the high school we had done plays, concerts and many other activities by ourselves, teachers were there just to supervise. It was never accustomed to ask parents for the money for one or another activity in school. We made everything by hands from the supplies provided by the school. Girls used to bake and boys would provide lights and music. My friend and I started baking cookies when we were 8 years old, i guess that’s when we learned how to read the recipe.
I live in NYC now and I have a 11 year old daughter. Since she was 9 she was allowed to go to the nearest supermarket to get milk or bread, she can make pancakes for us in the morning and she bakes cookies as well.