Welcome, Wall Street Journal Readers!

Hi Readers — All of you, including the new ones who caught my piece in today’s Wall Street Journal. It was all about the fact that so few kids are walking to school these days — about one in ten. And here’s a note that sums up the whole craziness:

Dear Free-Range Kids:  My son started kindergarten and the dismissal procedure is for the teacher to open her classroom door to the outside and let the kids out if she sees a parent or person assigned to pick up the child. When I asked another parent about letting the kids walk home – they laughed and said the kids can’t walk home until 2nd or 3rd grade.

WHAT???? I live exactly 1 mile from the school. My son would have to walk down a residential street, cross a busy street – with a crossing guard – and then walk in another residential area to get home. I would have no problem with him walking home. He might take a while because he wants to look at the birds or a stick on the ground, but hey, he is almost 6 and that is to be expected.

It takes me at least 20 minutes to pick up each day. I have to drive to the school, trying to maneuver around the other parents trying to get a parking spot, park my car across the street in the junior high parking lot, load a sleeping toddler (who I just plucked from a nap) into a stroller, try and cross the street that the other parents are trying to maneuver to decide where to park, and wait for my child to be released. To me it is a nightmare!

Me, too. And here’s a piece that should make us all think twice: In Germany, the newspapers are trying to convince parents NOT to drive their kids to school. Good parents (they say) should think about all the time, gas, pollution, and opportunity for exercise and socialization that are wasted when they act as their children’s chauffeurs. Agreed! — Lenore

P.S. The link to the Journal piece works now — possibly only for today!

P.P. S.  Let’s try to keep the discussions here helpful and supportive. Especially (spoken like a mom) because today we have guests! L.