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Oh, How the Times Sure Have Changed

November 03, 1995

Regarding "Risk Management" (Oct. 25): When I was a child, my mother used to drop off neighborhood kids, my sister and me at the Fox movie theater in downtown San Diego. There, we would watch double features.

As I recall, my sister was quite frightened by the banshee in "Darby O'Gill and the Little People." She was also afraid of mummies. But I wasn't. There wasn't much I was afraid of as a child, not even spiders.

This was not a testament to bravery, however, so much as a hallmark of a time when a mom could leave a passel of youngsters in an urban setting and come back four hours later to pick them up.

I pine for those days and for the exquisite freedom of running with the neighborhood pack.

Now I live in a semi-rural and, by all accounts, "safe" neighborhood. But a short question-and-answer session will quickly reveal how times (or at least my perceptions) have changed:

Question: Is there much traffic where I live?

Answer: No more than where I grew up.


Q: Have there been abductions of children from the area

A: None that I know of.


Q: Is my son's elementary school close by?

A: About the same distance from home as the one I attended.


Q: Will I let him walk there?

A: No.


Q: Do I intend to give my child the same freedoms that I knew when I was a kid?

A: No way.


Q: Will I allow my child to have a childhood?

A: Hmmmm. Give me a moment. I'll have to think about that one.




In regard to Antoinette Martin's article "Risk Management," I can see it now. The morning alarm clock goes off at 7 a.m.

Mom goes into little Jim's bedroom, so Jim can begin his day by logging onto his computer so he can start his school day via America Online--safe at home away from traffic, abduction, molesters, drugs, sex and all the terrible incidents that make up our lives in the '90s.

Please. If we want the children of today to be leaders of the next century, then I'd suggest we not shelter them from some of life's not-so-pleasant moments. Educate, yes. But repression and denial are not the ways to build a community, or for that matter, a child's soft malleable mind.

Once again, parents project their fear and low self-esteem onto their offspring.

If parents had any insights at all, they would teach their children to be great explorers of life, so they can live spontaneous and adventurous lives in which creativity, love, compassion, prosperity, health, friendship, communication and service can shape them into the unique creative fulfilled people they are meant to be.

The key to opening up the world for our children, is not to cater to the fears of their parents, but rather to have the children shine their own individual light onto the fearful world of their parents.

Life is truly good and exceptionally safe.


Los Angeles


I am 14 years old, and when I was younger I would be out there doing a lot of crazy things, just being a kid. It didn't mean that my parents were irresponsible. It meant they trusted me and thought I could take care of myself.

It's healthy for a little kid to have this type of freedom.

I now look at my little cousins with their overprotective parents, and I feel like crying because they're losing a part of life that should be memorable.


Los Angeles

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