Freedom - the vital component of childhood

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

How many of you wish for your freedoms to be preserved while not giving your children the freedom they need? Do you stay at home to avoid terrorism? No, but you keep your children inside to avoid the miniscule risk they would face. How would you feel if you were told you must stay at home to avoid the risk of a terrorist attack? You, of course, would suddenly feel imprisoned against your will and react with hysteria, and rightly so. The only reason why children do not react to the same restrictions is because they were born a prisoner: they know no different. Many children will also support the captor, you, but many prisoners and hostages also support their captors. 

That's Stockholm Syndrome.

When I was one years old I walked to the corner shop in just my flip-flops to buy a chew from the penny tray. When I was a toddler I played with my tricycle at the bottom of our safe road. When I was four I walked to school, crossing a few roads, with my two older sisters. When I was six I walked to school on my own. When I was seven I was cycling miles out to the countryside and back, all stocked up with my survival kit; sandwich, pocket radio, box of matches, torch and Yorkshire Terrier....all packed safely in the basket. Those days out would end at dinner time, when it was dark. My mother never asked where I'd been. Mother's didn't worry about things like that then. Children went out for a long time and came back when they were hungry, usually with some scratches, and that was that. A year or two later I was getting the bus alone into the town centre, often clutching a tissue box of baby mice to sell to the pet of the ways I made some pocket money. No-one ever thought anything of it. Children alone on buses was not front page material then.

Some of the strongest memories I have are of when I was off exploring on my bicycle for hours on end with a friend or alone. Often going off the beaten path, building a temporary shelter, burning a little fire, building a dam, catching a tiny fish.... These excursions were about testing survival skills and practicing being an adult. I would go into another world in which I was a daring and capable adventurer. Every time I went out I would push my limits that bit further by cycling faster, going further, taking a new path, exploring new woods.... I was the master of my own destiny during these many trips out, totally absorbed in nature and empowered by my daring and strength. I was in the zone and I liked it! My daring during these almost weekly days out became my inner badge of honour as a child and helped me through difficult experiences and let downs. I always had THAT to rely on...I had conquered the countryside and I could take care of myself. I thank my childhood freedom for my life-long inner source of personal power that every child has the human right to develop. This personal power is not something showy or even noticeable but something rooted deep inside and tapped into as a helpful reminder. Because of this, childhood freedom is one of my fundamental principals and one I insisted on granting my own child despite the wrath of the curtain twitchers.

Children taken on a walk in the countryside with their parents and siblings will not go into 'the zone' but may well 'zone out'. They are not going to get that buzz of inner strength from going on a family picnic. Will they develop a lifelong love of the countryside after only being in it with squabbling siblings or will they forever associate it with arguments? 

Parents have, on the whole, been over-protective for about a generation. Does that mean freedom is lost? Lost in one generation? Many of those new adults will not know about what I know about. They will never have experienced this sense of adventure born out of complete freedom. That kind of adventure will only have been available to them in the movies....other children acting out exciting experiences they never came close to. 

Of course, what today's rulers want they get. They want the new adults coming through to be inside types, technology consumers, weak willed, unadventurous, obedient slaves. They do not want daring, courageous people who do not buy the gadgets but do spend time in the countryside. They want homogenised unquestioning urbanites because that is what will suit their future plans, in which much of the countryside will be off limits.

So, what are you training your kids to become? 

Free people who will value and protect their freedoms and the freedoms of their children? Or slaves? Which are you?

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