Crossing The Street

Next week there is a birthday party for one of Jane’s friends.  The party is very close to Jamba Juice. Remember Alexander’s big walk to Jamba Juice?

Well, Jane would like to walk to the party, and she’d like to walk there alone. Two other moms are on board, and the girls will be coming to my house after school, and then the trio will walk the eight tenths of a mile to the birthday party, enjoy the party and then walk back home.

One of the moms said, “I’ll just give my daughter my cell phone so they can check in with us.”

I found myself replying with, “Jane has a cell phone, and I’m pretty sure the moms at the party will be happy to check on them too.”

I found myself worrying that instead of teaching our kids to rely on good judgment, and even better social skills (like asking a store owner to please call home), that we’ve taught our kids to rely on texting and electronic leashes.

I’m pretty sure there’s a lovely balance between the two, but I’m not sure exactly where it is. I know this is all dynamic.

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  1. Our parents managed all of this without having the benefit of cellphones. I started to walking to school in first grade. I didn’t go alone, I was accompanied by two older boys. Did I mention that they were in second grade.

    The point is that at some point in time we have to send them off into the world so that they can learn to fend for themselves. Things like the party you describe offer opportunities to help teach them incrementally instead of in one burst.

  2. I’d say give her your Nexus One after you download Loopt or Latitude and install it. Then watch her every move as it updates on the web as you sweat and cry, but she thinks her mom is cool for trusting her.

  3. I think that the way we deal with these situations has changed not only with our children but with ourselves. Do we stop at the gas station and ask for directions or do we GPS it?

  4. Although I see your point, I do also believe that along with the advancement of electronic gadgets, the world we live in have changed. I feel conflicted.

  5. Danielle

    Jane and her friends walking to Jamba Juice – sounds great. Jane minus friends walking to Jamba Juice – no way. I walked to school from the time I was 7 and had only one incident later in high school where someone actually pulled over and used that old “help me find my cat” line.

    I’d say at least have one parent present – pick the cool one (obviously you!) though.

  6. Sylvia once forgot her phone, and the bus wasn’t coming to take her from school to her after-school program, and went into the store near the bus stop and called me from there. They know!

  7. crime is much lower now, across the board, than it was when we were growing up. just sayin’.

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