Skenazy is the mother who let her nine-year-old son make his way home from Bloomingdale’s in NYC.  I remember hearing about this.  My first reaction was, “Oh, my!  I would be scared to make my way anywhere in NYC alone!”  Then I realized that it was his hometown and he had been traveling it with his family for years.  The more I thought about this the more I thought she might not be crazy after all. 


When I was a kid my mom let me loose in thousands of acres of hills rife with dangers including rattlesnakes and coyotes, drowning in the crick, breaking a leg in a hole, poisonous plants, getting chased by mean cows; all nature of dangers lurked in our back yard, and few were within yelling distance.


When I heard Skenazy had written a book, I found it on Amazon and bought it, new.  (I don’t even GIVE new books as gifts to my family, much less buy them for myself.)  I started it the day it came and finished it less than 24 hours later.  When I got to page 45 I thought, “I want to remember this, maybe I should…gasp…fold the page down.  No, there were some good things before this too,” so I got a pen and started underlining.  I haven’t done that in a book since college.  The first line I underlined was, “Normal childhood has become just too risky to permit.”  This was said in sarcasm.  But is it is true?  Mothers my age said that 70% of us used to play outside everyday, but only 31% of us let our kids play outside regularly.


The point she hammers is, “The statistics cited by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children itself show that the number of children abducted and killed by strangers holds pretty steady over the years-about 1 in 1.5 million… .00007 percent…if you actually wanted your child to be kidnapped and held overnight by a stranger, how long would you have to keep her outside, unattended, for this to be statistically likely to happen?  About seven hundred and fifty thousand years.”  It does happen, but almost never.


Skenazy’s book is really funny and a clear headed look at why we parent the way we do.  She has some great examples of people panicking over things that nearly never happen, like not remembering that your child is much more likely to be in a car accident while you are taking him to school than to be abducted while walking to school.  Her big tips were…turn of the news (and anything produced by Jerry Bruckheimer) and trust your kid and others to do the right thing. There is nothing wrong with talking to strangers.  Just don’t go off with them.


I am going to do my best to follow her advice as my kids get older, she makes a lot of good points.  I highly recommend this book.


We read Corduroy tonight and the little girl, Lisa, goes to the department store by herself to buy a toy.  I always kind of wondered about that, but it was written in 1968.