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Old 05-17-2011, 05:37 PM   1 links from elsewhere to this Post. Click to view. #1 (permalink)
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Default The trouble with family fitness.

Once again I find myself at odds with my community over trying to put more activity into my family's day to day life. Yesterday it was gorgeous here in MI. After school I pick up kids at 2 different buildings, the first one I stop at is 2 miles from the house and the other is about a mile. When I arrived at the second building the kids decided they wanted to walk home from there, which I always encourage. So they tossed all their stuff in the car and I drove the little ones home and let the bigger ones go on foot. It's about 6 blocks, takes about 15 minutes, there are 2 adult crossing guards, plus 4 student crossing guards between our house and the school. Our oldest is almost 10yo and the other 3 kids are all 8yo. Anyway after they'd gotten home I got a call from a complete stranger letting me know that my kids were too little to be walking home from school and that one of them was crying, so she took it upon herself to park her car and walk them across the street (right in front of the house where we live), and I should be a better mother and drive them home from school .

Excuse me? Wow some people have a lot of nerve. In this day and age with childhood obesity on the rise at an alarming rate, I'm a bad mother for encouraging my children to walk home in the 80 degree weather with the sun shining and just a light breeze blowing? BTW the one that was crying fell coming out of the school building and had been crying the whole way home, she's been known to milk a little drama for all it's worth. And the oldest child has taken the 3 hour "Safety Program" at school and is now a substitute on the Safety Squad, next year she'll be a full time Safety Squad member and be on duty for 1/2 hour before and after school every day. So after I hung up the phone, I rallied the kids together and we had a long discussion about not talking to strangers. OY!
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Pfffffffffffft.

I was walking to and from school when I was 7 years old, and my sister was 8. There were paths through the woods and only one crossing guard for about 10 streets, and the walk was a little over a mile. I managed just fine. In time, I started riding my bike and flying over bumps and roots in the road like I was Evil Kineval.

That woman really should have minded her own business -- I understand the pull that a crying child can have on the emotions, but telling you that you're a bad parent is a pretty extreme.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's definitely a different atmosphere we live in today. I regret driving my kids everywhere - I did that - way into the high school years. I was a frightened mom, hearing constantly from the schools that my kids shouldn't go to any home where the parents weren't home, because this was happening in our small community all the time. I guess if a kids didn't go straight home, the danger was going to other people's emty houses to 'hang out.'

When I was a kid, every home wasn't an empty home because both parents weren't working back then. Now, i guess that is pretty common.

I walked to school all the time, and back, from grade school to high school But those were more innocent years, more innocent times. Men did stop in their cars and offer us rides and we always said no, and yeah, I"m sure they were creepy predators. I'm amazed this stuff happened, but it did, and we did exercise good judgement. But, wow, what scary people exist and existed and will always exist.

I heard a very funny comedian recently who, in an interview, talked about how he was stopped behind a school bus that dropped off at one house and then drove on about four more houses and dropped off again. The comedian said, 'No wonder we are a fat nation!'
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I had a coworker several years ago that insisted that her daughter take the bus home (door to door like comedian above says) and stay in the apartment all afternoon until she got home. And then she wondered why her kid was obese.

Amy, you're right, sometimes people should just mind there own business. It that women was just concerned about the kids she could have kept her eyes on them until they got to your front door and then driven away.

My guess? It was all about out-momming you and nothing about real child safety.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeand View Post
Not only are people bad at assesing the true risk involved, but we sooooo underestimate the abilities of children. They are not as fragile or stupid as they are often treated. Though they will grow into that with the constant hovering so many parents do.
Amen. That is exactly what I should have said to her, "How dare you underestimate my children!". Yes, it's nerve wracking to have your little ones grow up and want to take on new responsibilities (this walking home business is new in the last month), but at the same time if you don't let them stretch their wings, they will never learn to fly.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Not only are people bad at assesing the true risk involved, but we sooooo underestimate the abilities of children. They are not as fragile or stupid as they are often treated. Though they will grow into that with the constant hovering so many parents do.
Well said.

I was ticked about 3 years ago when they repaved the road our development leads onto; the school is up that road about a mile.

Could they put sidewalks in? Definitely. Did they? No.

Our bus stop isn't really close to the house, but I've been behind buses that stop at every darn house on that road to school. Infuriating on many levels. What's wrong with this picture?
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh piffle. I always walked to primary school (ages 4-11), and after a few years I walked alone. The main thing was that I had to walk on the streets rather than cutting through the coppice or the common. It's not about crossing roads, any child of that age should know how to cross a road, it's about the area you live in. I grew up in a pretty, rather boring suburb which did have the odd incident over the years I was there (a nasty rape on the common, after which the mothers were walking in twos; a murder at the end of my road, where it meets the main road and is forest on the other side). If you're in a dangerous area, then fair enough, don't let the child walk alone, but how many dangerous areas have primary schools anyway? When I went to secondary school (11-18), I'd walk across the common to get to the bus stop, but several schools used that bus stop and it was always busy at those times of day. Ten minute walk to primary school, fifteen minute walk to the bus stop for secondary school, no fancy crossings or what have you, just ordinary residential streets.

When I went to secondary school, I skived off games to do music as much as I possibly could, but I still kept pretty damn fit. The exercise involved in singing and playing percussion aside (try lugging kettledrums around when your adult height is 4'11), simply carrying my backpack and getting to classes was plenty of exercise. Every forty minutes a bell would ring, and unless it was a double class we'd all go tearing off to the next class, which on average meant four flights of stairs. I have no idea how kids in a school big enough for that can manage not to keep fit at a basic level.

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Old 05-18-2011, 11:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Our town has a very low crime rate, mostly domestic violence, although if you look up sex offenders we do have some suspicious neighbors. So we're going to enroll the girls into the self defense class at the martial arts academy. Admittedly the corner they were crossing is very busy at that time of day, but the girls have never lived anywhere else and they are very used to traffic, they know what to look for, we cross that corner all the time.

I have just come up against one road block after another trying to be a fit parent raising my children to lead healthy lifestyles. It just surprises me how often I have these issues.

In the summer when I was a kid we used to ride our bikes into town nearly every day, it's 3 miles in each direction, with some big hills. On the days we didn't ride our bikes we rode our horses, which is actually more of a workout, well at least the way we ride it is. Generally we made it into a game, I'm a darn fast Indian squaw warrior, and my brothers of course were always a posse of cowboy deputies. Can you imagine what that woman would say if she saw my kiddos riding through town full out, hell bent for leather, some screaming with war cries and some shouting "BANG BANG YOU'RE DEAD", like we used to? CPS would be at the door in a hot second.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It used to be where I grew up that the crossing guards could eyeball you as you went down the road towards home, and we had something where, if you were a parent in a home that offered to do so, you could put a decal on your door or window that indicated that a child walking home would know he or she could go there for help if needed.

This is irritating on two levels...what it says about our country's lack of commitment to activity and also pointing out those self-righteous moms who not only do things perfectly all the time, but find it necessary to tell others how to live their lives as well. I can imagine that it was dumfounding at first, but I'm sure a hundred appropos responses have popped into your head since.
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