Free-Range Kids Town Thriving!

Hey Readers! You’ll like this — L.

Dear FRK: Thought you’d appreciate some good news for Free-Range Kids (who are so Free-Range here no one would even consider the term meaningful). Our local paper came this afternoon and the front page photo was two boys goofing off at the local park. They’d tipped a picnic table up on the skateboard ramp and were balancing on it. The caption: “Tyler GIllespie 13 and Brennon Sleuth 12, attempt to balance atop a picnic table after tipping it on its end at McNair Skate Park, Thursday afternoon.” Not even a hint of, “Ooh! so dangerous!” or even, “Bad kids!” — just two boys goofing off.

On the same front page was this story about a girl who got stuck in a swing.  Note — the parents weren’t publicly scolded for letting the 9-year-old go to the park alone. Everyone, including the girl involved, seems pretty clear that it was a dumb move, but there’s no alarmism. Just another kid, goofing off, getting in a little trouble and getting out of it. (And giving an adult male stranger a hug!)
Then, at the back of the front section (it’s a small paper, only 2 sections) was this nice story about another two boys who started an egg business to buy stuff they wanted.
So if folks are becoming downhearted, they should know there are places out there where kids are still allowed to do things. It’s one reason I wanted to move here — Livingston, MT. When I came to visit I saw kids riding bikes without grownups, walking to school, even goofing off in the creek without anyone getting all up in their business. Helps that it’s still a pretty rural area — oh, and the paper is usually delivered by middle-schoolers. It’s an afternoon paper, and seems to be a classic learn-how-to-work job around here.
Cheers! —  Charlotte McGuinn Freeman, who blogs at  livingsmallblog.com.