May 28

Small Towns

The last time Tim and I watched a “chick flick”–which he claims he was tricked into seeing, as if I would do that–it was Have You Heard About the Morgans? Or something like that. Anyway, this NYC couple was put into the Witness Protection Program and moved to a tiny town somewhere in Colorado. (It actually wasn’t a bad movie.) I loved the little town and told Tim, “I want to live there!” and he pointed out that we DO live there.

I really do like living in a small town. I like being able to walk to the library and to the post office (where there is never a long line and they know who I am). I like the neat blocks with sidewalks, and the park that is just down the street. I like the Pepsi machine outside the small grocery store where you can still get a can of soda for fifty cents.

Now that it is summer, Naomi and Rachel have been playing outside by themselves quite a bit, which is a first for us. I never before let them outside unsupervised. But now they have been given boundaries–they can play in the backyard, front yard, and church’s side yard, and they can ride their scooters on the wide sidewalk that runs from the parsonage to the corner. I enjoy having the windows open and hearing them as they play outside, and having them run in and out of the house throughout the day. It feels nostalgic, like this is the way summer used to be for kids. But I do still worry when I can’t see them every minute. I wonder, are they too young for this responsibility? Will they remember all the rules I’ve told them about not going anywhere near the street, and to scream if an adult they don’t know approaches them? (I actually told them to scream and run back in the house if an adult they don’t know tries to talk to them, and I told Naomi to grab Rachel.) I struggle to balance their growing independence vs. my desire to always protect them from everything.

So my question is…at what age did you allow your children to play outside with limited supervision?

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