Free Range Kids: the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and the Cody Way

bailing hay
In partial response to the Washington Post article ‘Free-range’ kids and our parenting police state

I was a semi-supervised free range kids in very unique environments.

Growing up, my daycare was often on a construction site, on a farm, at a fire station, or somewhere where I was eventually on a ladder or driving some type of massive machinery.

I’ve swong cubes of bricks on cranes over newly built houses with inches to spare, driven tractors that crab, and farm equipment with 6′ tires on it with chains and a 10′ plow inches from parked cars in icy parking lots.

I’ve cycled towns away at all hours of the day and night.

I’ve gone on search parties for cows and been by myself to bring Bessy back.

All this before I was a 13.

My point is, on many of these I was on my own, on many, I was “sorta supervised” but had to use my head, others, I was watched very closely – but with little margin for error (in my perception).

In all cases, I learned real limits instead of imposed limits. I was given the ability to assess things for myself and do my best to learn before the mistakes.

You need to expose them to everything. You have to let go. You have to give them the chance to figure it out for themselves. You need to assess your kids along the way and guide them as they need guidance. You need to hope they get it, or it will be a long journey. You need to hope they get hurt… Just enough, but not too much.

I rather like “The Cody Way”.

Thank you George Cody, Cheryl Cookson Cody, Evelyn Cookson, Greg Morse, Aileen Lozzi, and so many others for shaping me and finding that right balance.

Thanks Christine Perkett, for the post.

With two teen boys and a 4 year old girl on our hands in these times, it’s been tough to play the balance. I feel like some days I could leave the girl at home, but still need supervision for the boys….

I love you, JoAnn, we doing great.


(note: this was an extrapolation from an earlier Facebook post that I felt strongly about preserving.  Enjoy)

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