Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The new era of independance.

So this morning Erik and Luey took their first steps out into the big world unaccompanied by an adult.

This has been on the horizon for a while, and was probably overdue, but you know how it is with your first, you just don't feel quite ready to take a chance on them being able to handle the responsibility until, well, until your hand is forced (for many of us).

My brother and I were running errands for my parents and walking outselves to school from at least 8 and 6 years of age, if not earlier.

This route was where we walked to school before we moved to another school and took the bus...

And this route is where we walked to our local corner shops or shopping centre to run errands.

Both those distance are longer than where Erik and Luey walked to this morning.

We always hear how dangerous it is for kids out in society without adult protection but recent research suggests that crime rates these days are lower than they were when we were children. So, lately I've been concerned about suffocating the kids a bit with my own fears for their safety.

Anyway, as things stand the boys will need to find their own way to school two days a week starting at the beginning of next month, and also find their own way home one afternoon a week. This will require them to cross roads on their own - including four lane main arterials and navigate catching and transferring from and to busses. They know these routes like the backs of their hands, having taken them almost daily for the past three years. They know the busses, the bus stops, the streets and crossing and traffic flow.

They probably could have taken on this responsibility last year. It was just mine and their father's anxiety holding them back. We were waiting for them to start behaving like adults. That however, is a bit of a Catch 22 situation. They can't act like adults until they have experience while will cause them to mature and having the understanding of adults. Even if they grow to be 18, without experience, they can't develop maturity.

So, we kind of have to let them gain experience before they have maturity, so that they can gain maturity...

So, this morning I gave them $5 and sent them to the corner shop on an errand for me. Erik was both excited and nervous, more nervous than excited I think. Luey was "on the job" man. Serious and determined. They only took 15 minutes to do the entire round trip - which means they ran all or part of the way (but not across the streets, they assure me). Since coming back Erik has been very excited and keen to do it again. He's also suggested other destinations - some that are fine, others I'm not so sure about. Luey has not shown any of this excitement or even mentioned doing other errands, but he's not one for wearing his emotions too boldly on his sleeve.

I'm just relieved to have broken the seal on this milestone. Now that it's done I can see that they were well and truly ready and mature enough to do this and I'm glad we didn't wait any longer than we did!


Mr B said...

Oh what a big step, sounds like they did a great job. God, Im never going to be ready for that I think LOL

Juniper said...

Nic, you never are ready, like Sif said, most of us have our "hand forced" LOL!

Sif, I am so excited for you and your kids moving on to this exciting, yet nerve wracking development. I just have to say, that I totally agree with this statement you made ...

"So, we kind of have to let them gain experience before they have maturity, so that they can gain maturity..."

This is soooo true, and like you said, it really is a Catch 22 situation. But totally, I agree with you, and IME, at the younger age, they take the responsibility so gravely and seriously, they try so hard not to "stuff up" and usually are quite naturally cautious, but sometimes when they get older they can have a premature over confidence yk?

Gotta run, but just had to say *yeah!*

Rachael said...

That's great! We are lucky in that our shops are very close and on a quiet residential street. I think I could probably send the big boy sometime this year...whether I will or not is another story lol!

Sif Dal said...

I think that's great Rach. Some of the problem is that things like corner shops, a nice and easy first step, especially if you know your corner shop owners well, like we do, are starting to disappear because of the big shopping centres. In their turn, the big shopping centres lack a lot of the intimacy and community awareness of the corner shops. So, I think if you have a local corner shop and can get to know the owner in as far as being able to smile and say g'day and so they recognise your kids, that's just another layer of security because if the kids do go MIA while out, the corner shop owner will be more likely to be able to say, "Yes, they were in here" or "No, they didn't come in today" than some check out chick at your nearest shopping mall supermarket... If that makes sense.

I also think, there is no rush, it's about listening to your child and knowing when THEY are ready. The age of when they are ready is not an indication of their intelligence or maturity, just when they want or feel the need to do it :).

Mr B said...

I just remembered that I was much younger and allowed to go to the corner shop for lollies with my 20cents hehe must have only been 5 or so. Pity we dont have a corner shop.

Good Job!