Walk, walk, don’t tell me.

They do remember how to walk, don’t they? Because the New York Times recently reported

In 1969, 40 percent of students in the United States walked to school; in 2001, the most recent year data was collected, 13 percent did, according to the federal government’s National Household Travel Survey.

Seems that all the parents are busy lining up to drop off, or pick up, their precious little ones. Door – to – door service is parental responsibilities these days.

While there may be some benefit in having the family members share some time together, I feel that all this chauffeuring comes at a great cost to the kids. As the Wall Street Journal blog puts it, not only are they missing out on a little exercise but they are also missing out on a whole lot of independence. Each day, as they venture out under their own steam, the little ones get a bit more confident and a bit more comfortable in their world. They explore and adventure in places that they would notherwise avoid. They interact with neighbors, folks across the street, and strangers down the road. They grow into their community, with the community closely watching, of course!

Instead, today the pattern is a gated world where careful vetting is conducted before anyone is allowed into the fiercely guarded private domain. Shut the world out, lock up your daughters, and pretend everything is all right!

Sadly, while I don’t think our streets are any safer than they were decades ago our level of fear is much elevated. We’re even afraid of not knowing what it is like out there. Threat level yellow, or threat level red – there isn’t much we can do about it. So, we take charge of the little things that we can control and pretend that makes things better.

The irony is that by sheltering our precious little ones, we let ourselves off the hook for the real world out there. Just drive on by, lock the car door, and pretend you don’t have to care. Those aren’t your people, not your responsibility. Besides, they’re walking!

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