A List that Sums Things Up Nicely

Hi Readers! Just got this interesting letter from a Florida gal named Linda Wightman, who blogs at Lift Up Your Hearts. I haven’t seen the book she describes, but I thought her list of things that are going wrong in society was as tight as it was right. So here it is!

The Parallels Between a Free-Range Farmer’s Book & Free-Range Kids, by Linda Wightman

As I was reading Joel Salatin’s book, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front, I was repeatedly struck by the similarities between his struggles on a “family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm” and many of the stories I’ve read here at Free-Range Kids.

You have to wonder why our society is so opposed to such an elegant, inexpensive, healthy and environmentally responsible food source — an old-fashioned one — just as you have to wonder why we have become afraid to allow children to ride their bikes around the block without adult supervision, an old-fashioned childhood. The logic is startlingly similar behind a system that deems a steak wholesome if it’s sold at the supermarket, but far too dangerous to eat if you buy it from your neighbor, and a system that tells parents their children are safer inside watching TV all day than playing in their own backyards.

At root, I believe the problems are these:

*The tendency to value safety above all other considerations

*An inability or unwillingness to make cost/benefit calculations

*The sincere, but mistaken, desire to replace individual, family, and community responsibility with regulations and legal requirements

*An irrational belief in the achievability of 100% safety if only we follow a certain set of rules

*Acting as if worst-case scenarios were commonplace

*And all of the above leading to a situation in which we, our families, and our nation are actually in more danger, not less.

As Salatin himself put it, “On every side, our paternalistic culture is tightening the noose…. When faith in our freedom gives way to fear of our freedom, silencing the minority view becomes the operative protocol.”

Free-Range Kids Soundtrack?

Hi Folks — Got this question over the transom (well, Internet) yesterday. Got me thinking/humming/blogging!

Dear Free-Range Kids: I’ve been thinking about “Let Me Fall” and wondering what other songs might be out there that speak to the Free-Range Kids movement, on both the serious side & more lighthearted ones.  Might be a fun question to pose to your blog!

I just looked at my “Believe in Me” playlist I put together. Maybe some of these?

Visions of a Sunset
Cole’s Song
May It Be
Beautiful Boy
Rainbow Connection
Bein’ Green
The Last Unicorn
Steward of Gondor (“Home is behind, the road ahead…)” — Kerrie

Well, I’m ashamed to say, the only songs I know on this list are the ones sung by John Lennon. But if you folks have other tunes to add to this list, please do! — Lenore

Controversial? Us?

Hi Readers and gollllly. Here I thought we’d cornered the market on commonsense. But according to the megasite Babble — and its wonderful list of the 50 top mommy bloggers — Free-Range Kids is the “Most Controversial” parenting blog of 2009. If you visit the Babble list, please feel free to click on the “I Like This Blogger” doodad next to our mention.

Maybe Free-Range is still a little controversial. But next year it’ll be the most mainstream.  — Lenore

Hey Readers! Add On to Our “Keep Kids Safe List”!

Hi Readers! Here’s a list we could all learn from, sent in by a reader named Mike:

I was definitely scared for my daughter, so I did a little research on how to keep her safe.  These are the steps we’re taking:

1.  No contact with any family members.  Statistically speaking, they are the most dangerous.

2.  No church, or religious groups.  You think schools are a hotbed of pervy men?  Try the church!

3.  Never use the same babysitter more than once.  If you’ve read about pedophiles “grooming” victims, you know it takes some time.

4.  No personal attachments of any kind.  See item #1.

So here’s the challenge readers: Add some more “safety tips!” We must keep our children safe from anything. And everything! And then some! L