caza feliz: día dieciocho — libertad y responsabilidad

I was completely depressed to read this story recently.


Really?  You’re going to arrest a mother who raised a little boy to be responsible enough to get himself to school when his mom needed to sleep after a night at a hospital?  Really?

And this is by NO means a singular event.

I just… I can’t even… America… arg…


I was going to make this post about how lucky I feel that the kids can walk to school here.  But it’s more than that.  Yes, the kids can walk to school in 5 minutes.  But I can also send them to the bakery.  They can run down the street to their friends’ houses.  They can go play soccer on the plaza.  They can explore the neighborhood.  They can take their allowance to the candy store.  They can run around with the other kids whose parents all let them, make them, stay outside.  And it’s safe.  It’s safe because all the neighbors know the kids.  All the shopkeepers recognize them.  BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL ALLOWED OUTSIDE.  The kids are healthy.  And confident.  MY kids are healthy and confident.  I’m so proud of how they can navigate in their world here.  I’m not worried about letting them out the door alone.  You know why?

Because NO ONE is going to call the cops on me for letting my 10 and 8 year-old kids out of the house.  No one will send CPS because I’m not with them every second.  People here would think that is absolutely absurd.  And it is.  I don’t know how we’ll go back to Texas without feeling imprisoned in our own home by a hyper-paranoid and uninformed culture that doesn’t believe children can accomplish anything by themselves, let alone walk to school.


So for now I’m feeling grateful my kids get to experience this independence, at least for a short while. Apparently it’s not possible in the United States.  DSC_0584

3 Responses to “caza feliz: día dieciocho — libertad y responsabilidad

  • Mom/Granny
    8 years ago

    I couldn’t agree with you more!! I’m so disgusted with this country right now. I am super happy that the kids get to explore some independence there!

  • Gramma L.
    8 years ago

    What happened to this poor woman was absolutely HORRENDOUS. As a former CPS case and Court worker, I can tell you that this type of thing would NEVER happen in Suffolk County. We need to talk about this at length, when we get together. Unfortunately, there people everywhere who are either ignorant of the law, who are unable to INTELLIGENTLY interpret the law or who are just plain mean spirited and judgmental.

  • Hi Cheris, you make an interesting point here.

    I definitely find myself erring on the side of overly cautious wig the kids more often than I would like. I’d like to be more permissive, to let the kids have some more of the freedoms that I had, before the Internet and 24-hour news cycles made most of America feel like molesters, rapists and murderers lurk behind every bush and corner. It is difficult, though… the media-induced hysteria is pervasive in suburban Long Island (and the rest of the US as well), and I find it affects me even though I know better. Fear-mongering is on almost every channel, all the time! It’s easy to get a little brainwashed by it all, even without meaning too.

    When I was a kid I was expected to play outside when the weather was suitable. Now lots of kids play indoors more, although in our neighborhood there are a bunch of kids who get out to play in each other’s yards.

    Regarding the horrible treatment of the mother, I can’t say I’m surprised. Intolerance of ANY differences is becoming rampant here in the States. And it has definitely extended to different people’s parenting styles. The intolerance extends on both sides of the political aisle, as well. Why do people have such a hard time not telling others how to live their lives and parent their children? I think it is rooted in upper-middle class affluence… Without major concerns (because they are mainly financially secure), people have nothing better to do than to occupy themselves with other people’s business.

    It’s great that you guys are able to explore another corner of the world and it’s also great that culturally, the Spanish don’t seem to have that same overprotective hang-up that we have here in the US. I remember when I lived in France, it felt so freeing not to be caught up in all the spoiled American bullshit. Even though we have everything in our country, sometime we act like a bunch of asses.

    Anyway, thanks for a thought-provoking topic. I enjoy reading your writing.

    Love to everyone and squoosh Violet and Graham for Uncle Bill.

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