Recent Tweets — And Off to Tucson

Hi Readers — From time to time I like to post  some of my recent tweets here, for those who are not (yet) Twittering away. So – voila, in no particular order:

1 -Whole NY Times story on whether Disney ousted anti-commercialism kids group from its Harvard home: http://nyti.ms/9y4IV3

2 – New blog from KaBoom (playground advocates): “Play Haters.” Stories of classic grumps & spoilsports: http://bit.ly/bNxgFI

3 – Best essay EVER on the way we react to any tragedy by creating new oversights we don’t need or won’t help: http://bit.ly/cQcxth

4 – I kid(ney) you not! New study shows kidney donors not at greater risk of death than those of us with 2! http://bit.ly/aM8uo7

5 – Here’s me, talking about stranger danger, along with my adversary who says even ADULTS shouldn’t talk to strangers.http://bit.ly/a44qt3

6 – PBS is debating Free-Range Kids on its website. Sorry to say, not sure the idea is winning! Help! http://to.pbs.org/a5btJR

Ok — that’s enough for now. I’m off to the Tucson Book Fair. If you’re in the nabe, stop by. I’ll  be speaking on Saturday morning. Love to say hi! Meantime, my deputy will be posting this weekend while I’m away. Enjoy! — Lenore

20 Responses

  1. re: Adults not talking to strangers

    I work in retail. That, in a nutshell, is my job. How does this person suggest we survive if we do not talk to people not previously known to us? Though I guess this does explain why some people are so flipping rude when all I want to do is help them get what they need so I don’t have to refold 3000 t-shirts.

  2. Oh, I’ll be at the book fair! Hope to see you then!

  3. “When was the last time you as an adult went up to a complete stranger and struck up a conversation?” That has to be one of the most bizarre questions that I’ve ever seen. I can hardly think of a time that I went out in public that I DIDN’T strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. Unless one lives in a small town where everyone knows each other, it is impossible to leave the house without encountering a stranger, and yes, often it is necessary to talk to them! But never mind the thousands of practical reasons one might need to talk to strangers. Heck, I will often make small talk with people waiting behind me in line simply for the fun of it! Oh, and this would really freak that lady out – I have been known to both offer and accept help from strangers!

  4. When President Obama was planning his speech to all the schoolchildren of America, I read a comment from a woman who said that he didn’t have “permission” to speak to her chidren, and that no one gets to speak to her kids without her explicit permission.

    I responded by asking about the lunch lady at school, parent aides in the classroom, the librarian, the clerk at the drug store, all of whom were strangers at one point, who may reasonably be expected to speak to her children, and who probably don’t have her permission. Sadly, she didn’t respond.

  5. Enjoy the glorious Tucson sunsets and have fun at the book fair. Can’t believe I didn’t know about this one. Will check it out right away. Gracias!

  6. I tend to be extremely introverted so I rarely talk to strangers — that is to say, I rarely INITIATE a conversation with strangers. But if someone in line at the store, or a clerk, or another parent waiting for children at some event, talks to me, I DO talk back! Really! What kind of cave does that lady live in, that she can only imagine “talking to strangers” involving striking up pointless and meaningless conversations with people? What about friendly chit-chat? Or useful interaction in a social or business setting? And remember, even if you’re (like me) not the type to “strike up” conversations, you’ll still find yourself talking to strangers, if you’re a decently friendly or polite person, which is exactly what kids are warned NEVER to do.

    If you want to get really logically picky, you can even ask, “How do you ever talk to anyone, since outside your family,k everyone is a stranger, until they aren’t?”

  7. Maybe the tide’s turned since you posted, Lenore, because I think the FRs are winning now at PBS! Good work!

  8. Off-topic, but did you watch CSI last night? Hodges says he read that the average 9yo today is allowed to wander only 1/10 the distance from home as the average 9yo of his generation. Catherine answers, “Well, it’s a scarier world now.” I was pretty ticked off! Maybe scarier if you read too many news stories, but not more dangerous by any means.

  9. When you live in the south, as I do, it is IMPOSSIBLE to leave your house and not talk to strangers. I have been known to have 1/2 hr. conversations with people I have never met. This lady would freak out in my area, because people will walk up to children and strike up conversations with them for no reason other than to just be friendly.

  10. As an adult, I also randomly talk to strangers. It’s one of the perks of taking the train or bus. Some really fascinating conversation to be had, that most people miss out on. During a long wait or ride, I’ve heard fascinating life stories, compared opinions on classic horror flicks, etc. I don’t go out of my way to be conversationalist, but comment on things I find cool or interesting, and respond to comments sent my way. If, as an adult, you never talk to strangers, you’re really missing out!

    Some people have an attitude of “anyone here might try to mug me, so I’m keeping to myself.” I prefer “anyone here might try to mug me, but I only have $40 in my pocket and can cancel my credit cards, and they’re probably not here to mug me and are likely to be a cool person, so I’ll chance it and just not walk with them alone in a dark alley. If anything, my new friend will probably call for help when the quiet guy over there tries to mug me later.”

  11. A couple of things about Tweet #5…

    1. I thought the paranoid export put up a bunch of straw men. “Wearing a helmet doesn’t make kids paranod! Putting on your seatbelt doesn’t make kids paranoid!” Nobody said it does, lady. What DOES make kids paranoid (and unable to cope with the world at large) is making them scared to talk to ANYONE (adults you too! This woman must not have a lot of friends. How does she meet people?) or not educating them on street smarts so they can go to the park by themselves, or pick up some milk at the corner store.

    2. I also didn’t like the “Third Way” lady, who made it seem like Lenore was on one side of the spectrum and Paranoid Lady was on the other and he’s this nice woman in the squishy middle who has all the answers. “Third Way” lady, wherever you live, I’m sure it’s not all that dangerous. Or any dangerous, unless maybe you live in war torn Beirut.

  12. I agree with Shelly – I live in New Orleans and talking to strangers is a way of life here! When I was evacuated to Atlanta after Katrina, I found it hard because people did not chat casually like they do here. People in line at the store seemed to think I was strange for striking up conversations. I could not live like that! (And I’m originally from the Northeast, but this friendliness is something I love about New Orleans.)

    PS, I realize Atlanta is also in the South, but my husband – who grew up there – said that so many people have come there to work from other places that it’s not really “Southern” any more.

  13. I talk to strangers all the time. Not in work but just in every day life. I can’t imagine going though life not talking to strangers. Conversations are fun. I encourage my little kids to talk to strangers all the time when we are out. My 16 year old has made some of her greatest friends by striking up conversations with a stranger.

  14. The other day, when I was in a bit of a bad mood due to sickness and math exams, a complete stranger talked to me. She said “I love your coat! You look like a 60’s model!” How could she? I could have been a dangerous psychopath just looking for my next victim!

    I dread to think of a world where such an attitude as the “adults shouldn’t talk to strangers” lady has is prevalent. I dread to think of a world where nobody has the “courage” to make someone’s day by saying something nice. I dread to think of a world where, instead of spending long and boring plane trips making friends with people from completely different walks of like, I would sit squished in an uncomfortable seat, afraid to even make eye-contact with the terrifying people sitting next to me. I’ve been horribly, *painfully* shy most of my life (though I’m changing) and I’ve *always* seen the benefit of talking to strangers. They are, after all, just friends waiting to happen. Plus, the thing that worries me the most about the whole “planned-activity/playdates only” parenting style is that when you only interact with pre-approved people who are the same age and social class, it’s very easy to become prejudiced against the outgroup. When you have friends from single-parent inner city homes, friends from suburban estates, friends that are older, friends that are younger, friends that belong to different (or no) religion, friends that have different colours of skin, and so on, it’s a little easier to see the world from a different perspective.

    Also, I love the Clarkson article. Oh, Jeremy. Never change.

  15. If you never talk to strangers how will you ever meet people? This means you can never make friends or start a relationship. It will lead to extinction of the human race!

    My parents live across a primary school and day care and we hear a lot of noise from the children playing outside in the summer. Sometimes it’s a little bothersome (when there seems to be a screaming contest going on!) but most of the time it’s kind of nice. Also its never the whole day. How can 30 minutes a day be a problem?

  16. Oooo, I hope you enjoy my home Tucson. The weather was glorious here today and the forecast is good for the weekend. I’m hoping to bike down to campus and check out the 2nd Tucson Festival of Books.

  17. […] And then repeat x10,000 [Jeremy Clarkson, Times Online (U.K.) via Free-Range Kids] […]

  18. There’s an article in this week’s New Scientist (link above) about how overprotective parenting might damage children’s mental development. Though the sample questions in the survey indicate profoundly pathological parenting, the same could be true, to a lesser extent, of general helicopter parenting.

  19. One of the reasons I love where I live is the assurance that if my parents, who are older, seem to need help, many of the people walking by will notice and offer assistance. The response to such offers here is either a yes, thank you or no, thank you, always accompanied by a smile. My job as a parent is to help my children learn to be good neighbors and citizens without putting themselves in danger. They can hardly learn that if they don’t see me engaging with strangers.

  20. If you don’t talk to strangers, how do you make friends?

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