[FoRK] ...as opposed to Feedlot Kids?

HK Pang hkpang at gmail.com
Mon Apr 27 12:15:43 PDT 2009

Back in China in the 70s, kids pretty much can go as far as they
physically capable without much concern for safety. I often wondered
miles away from home after school. If you get lost, you just ask any
strangers and they typically would help you out. My parents were ok
with it as long as I got home for dinne.Under Communist rule,
non-political crime was almost unheard off.

When I was an older kid living in Hongkong in the 80s, I walked to
school with my younger sisters everyday, crossing busy streets and
heavy traffic. Students in Hongkong normally wear school uniforms and
owned a 'student handbook' with both school and home contact info.
Those two items served like your driver license and credit card. I
could use it to rent bicyles, get into arcades, pools and lanes etc.
Also, policemen back there were particularly friendly. Most of them
didn't sit in a car, they normally patrolled the neighborhood by foot.
Asking a police for help/direction was a very low stress experience.

Today's kids are still pretty physically capable if you let them. I
don't think human genes would deteriorate so much in a single
generation. My 3 & 6 years old are both taking swimming lessons and
playing soccer, something kids in my generation didn't get to do until
a couple years older. But the common feeling among parents is such
that even when you live in the safest small town in the US (where I
live was ranked #1 for a couple years in a row), you still wouldn't
let you kids out of your sight.

Ironically, safety and education are two of the most important reasons
why people carry an outrageous mortgage to live in better

On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 2:26 PM, Damien Morton <dmorton at bitfurnace.com> wrote:
> When I was 5, growing up in Scheveningham, The Hague, my friends and I
> would ride our bikes for miles in every direction. We pretty much all
> lived on the same street and were in and out of each others houses all
> the time, sleeping over, having dinner, playing in each others yards.
> I don't remember there being any limits to where we could and couldn't
> go. I cant imagine living with those limits.
> On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 4:10 AM, Corinna Schultz
> <corinna.schultz at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Just this morning I was talking to my 8yo daughter about walking to a
>> friend's house. She didn't know where her friend lived, so I told her
>> to find out, so we could see if it was close enough for her to walk.
>> My main concern was her being able to navigate and find her way home
>> if the friend lived in an unfamiliar neighborhood.  In the course of
>> our discussion, she mentioned another girl she knows who is 7 or 8,
>> and lives probably .25 mi from school, straight down the street. This
>> girl isn't allowed to walk to school by herself. She can walk halfway
>> at most. She's been told that she'll be able to walk alone when she's
>> in 5th grade. This is a fairly quiet neighborhood, so safety really
>> isn't an issue.
>> To be fair, this child has a hearing problem and wears an aid. She
>> also gets teased, though I don't think there has been any bullying. So
>> perhaps her parents have some concerns relating to this, and think
>> she's not old enough to handle any problems that may arise.
>> But still... to not be allowed to walk down a straight street for .25
>> mi to get to school?
>> When we moved here, I printed a google map for my kids, with the route
>> between home and school clearly marked (and my cell phone number
>> written at the bottom). It involved a fair number of turns, and
>> required her to look at the street signs, and pay attention to cross
>> several roads. I walked with her a few times, to build her confidence
>> and show her how the map corresponded to the streets. My kids walked
>> together at first, but when she was still 7, she was walking home
>> alone sometimes. In the back of my mind I worried that someone would
>> harrass me for allowing my kids that freedom, but it hasn't been an
>> issue.
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