What was it? It was overprotective parenting and its effects on the kiddos. When I was a kid I was pretty much of a homebody, but I was always allowed to be out and around if I got the gumption up. And when I did I'd disappear for hours on end. I'd be at the creek down the hill getting filthy, being too scared to pick up crawdads, loving playing with all the frogs I found, and often not returning home until my mom went outside, stood in the street, and banged a gong until I got home. Embarrassing much? Uh, you bet!
My own kids got to explore creeks, too, but I was always there. They picked up crawdads and frogs, but I'd make them wash up right quick. They could go places, but I had to always know where they were, and once they entered sixth grade and got cell phones, I'd expect them to pick up if I called them.
I felt guilty at first after reading the homework article and went to my "go to" excuse of "well, something could have happened to them!" And as I experienced having two men (strangers) pull up next to me as I was walking home from elementary school and demand that I get in the car with them, and I had the good sense to run as fast as I could to the nearest house and bang on the door for help, I know sometimes things do happen to kids.
So...I think I need to take my kids out this weekend, drop them off at a sweet little creek, confiscate their phones, and insist that they get covered in mud and touch and set free at least five critters each.
...oops, I think I just got controlling again.
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