Ethics Quiz: The Neglectful Mom

An upstate New York mother allowed her 10-year-old child to shop alone at the LEGO store as she shopped at a different store in the same mall. It appears that the LEGO store’s personnel called the mall’s security, and the child’s mother was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The store does have a sign that states that children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Arresting the mother is obviously absurd over-kill. Obviously also, the LEGO store has a right to have whatever policy it chooses regarding unaccompanied children. However the question remains, and is the Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day

Is it irresponsible for a mother to allow her 10-year-old to shop alone if the mother is shopping in the same mall?

Related questions as you ponder:

1. When you saw Kevin McCallister shopping alone in the New York City toy store in “Home Alone 2,” did you immediately think that it was unrealistic that Mr. Duncan didn’t call the cops? When I was 11 and my sister was 9, my parents dropped us off at the Boston FAO Schwartz store (“Home Alone 2’s” “Duncan’s Toy Chest” was modeled on FAO Schwartz) while they went shopping at various stores nearby. We were in there for hours. (It was a great day.) They came back and picked us up later. Were my folks being reckless?

2. Do you think children are in more danger in 2017 than they were in earlier years?

3. Why isn’t allowing a child to shop alone with a parent nearby and clear guidelines in place for the child to follow good parenting?

4. Is this a worst case scenario problem in society? Is society reaching a consensus that if there is any chance of danger to a minor, that chance is unacceptable no matter how remote it is?

5. Should it be up to the state to veto a parent’s judgment regarding what challenges a child can be trusted to undertake? We aren’t talking about putting children obvious peril in these cases, just giving children challenges that train them for competent adulthood.


Source: Reason

55 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: The Neglectful Mom

  1. 1. Yes.
    2. No.
    3. Stranger Danger and/or You are asking other parents to watch your kid.
    4. No. But I reserve the right to shoot dagger eyes at the parent who leaves his/her child alone and I most likely will keep an eye on that child until the parent returns. I also realize that I am running the risk of that other parent telling me to eff off. I’m fine with that.
    5. Yes — to a degree. I believe the rule in MD is that a child may be left alone at home at age 10, but that 10 year-old child cannot be put in charge of other children.

    • In North Carolina, unsupervised children are sold into slavery (at least in the cabbose museum gift shop). One creative shop will give unsupervised kids candy and a puppy. Both are far more proportional and appropriate consequences than arrest for child negligect. Hey, parents were warned!

    • 2. No.

      1. Reckless? Perhaps more so than parents today, but I think that sets an astronomically low bar. You were left less attended than kids today would be, and there was relatively more danger in the world then than there is now… But I’d hardly call that reckless.

      3. Irrational fear from overprotective busybodies.

      4. No… I think it’s a matter of relative severity. If your child has a chance of being kidnapped, abused, or killed then I think that people treat the situation differently.

      It’s a risk profile question: If there was a pill that had a 100% likelihood to relieve headaches, but there was a .001% chance that it would kill you, would you take the pill? There’s almost no chance it will kill you, and you have a headache you want gone, are you going to gamble with your life? Me personally… probably not. But you want to try your luck? I’m not going to judge you for it. Ideally, no one should be more concerned with the well being of children than their parents, and ideally it should be left to the parents to decide what is right for their child.

      But there are some godawful parents out there, and they create precedents. Have you ever looked at a 5 gallon drum? Some of them have warnings not to put children in them. I look at warnings like that and wonder what kind of idiocy made them necessary. I think what we’re dealing with is the logical conclusion of a slippery slope: At one point, we as society deemed that it was the government’s job to protect children from the most unfit of parents; Criminals, Addicts, people more likely than not to injure
      or stunt their child… And then from that point on, every time something bad happened, the government, naturally risk-adverse and attempting to figure out how to cope with the new duty of ensuring the safety of children mixed a toxic stew of fallacies to the point where governments, perhaps not the American government, yet, but governments see it as their duty to forcefully vaccinate children or remove children from parents who want to home school.

      5. Ideally… No. But unless our expectation of what government’s role in society is, I don’t see a way around it.

  2. It’s a complicated question. If the parent feels confident in the child’s ability, who is anyone else to question their judgment. However, isn’t it (and life) just a giant moral luck dilemma? If that same child is kidnapped, raped, and killed…do we write things about the parent or about society? At a certain age, the writings become about society, but as the age of the victim decreases, we write more about the lack of thought by the person who should have been responsible. It’s a weird sliding scale that’s completely undefined.

    • Nanny states get started with little infringements based on extreme cases. A child must learn to cope with adult situations, and the parent picking a safe method to do so is a good teaching tool.

      • I’ve been thinking about this as I have an almost 7 year old – I suppose my litmus test for leaving her alone somewhere will be if I feel confident in her ability to tell those in authority to bugger off and avoid letting cops get called. That she can justify her presence to a store employee, put them at ease with the situation, or leave if they try to detain her and escalate the situation.

  3. I think that the answer to the overall question is no. That assumes that the parent is trying to stretch the kid’s abilities, and not that the parent is dropping the kid at the toy store because the kid would become fussy while the parent was shopping for grownup things.

    The obvious issue is stranger abductions. Estimates differ, of course, but most settle at a number a little over 100 per year in the US. That includes 15-year old’s whose presence in stores and transit systems is unremarkable. This has to be weighed against the nebulous concept of freedom, which will lose every time against security because each little bit of freedom is always as nothing when compared to the great mass still available. Freedom really needs our help – the choice has to be seriously unbalanced in favor of security before we hand over a piece of freedom to obtain it.

  4. Every child is different, and the person in the best position to make those kinds of judgements is and always will be the parents. In a reasonable world, the store employees would have hesitated to get the law involved because they aren’t giant douches. However, I mostly blame the government for this.

    The toy store has their policy, and posted their sign, because they want to avoid liability. They can be sued if anything happens in their store. If they try to be adults and handle potential issues themselves, they can STILL lose big in court if anything goes wrong. Calling own Big Brother is what they are expected to do. It’s also the easiest thing to do; once the cops are called, it’s no longer the Lego Store’s problem.

    Arresting the mother was not only overkill, but a monstrous waste of government resources for which we all pay. However, the store is taking the safest and easiest route (for them) because they don’t want to be sued. So it’s not hard to understand why they would act that way. This is how statism gets rolling. And it rolls downhill.

    Eventually you end up like Canada, where you can be jailed for not “respecting” someone’s preferred pronouns. Or Sweden, where the government can just steal your child away and send him to another family without cause, because a social worker doesn’t like your religion.

    I don’t want to be so cruel to my son as to raise him into a little cry-bully stereotypical millennial seeking constant validation and whining to authorities at every microaggression. So I’m gravitating towards NOT being a “helicopter parent” and letting him be a kid, letting him play and explore without hovering around hounding him. But now I’m going to have to deal with little junior deputies waiting to call the authorities if they see me letting him play with a BB gun or talk to a homeless person or whatever. (And for goodness’ sake, what if the mother here was just trying to buy her kid a birthday gift at the other store without him seeing it? We got to call the cops?)

    • Eventually you end up like Canada, where you can be jailed for not “respecting” someone’s preferred pronouns.Or Sweden, where the government can just steal your child away and send him to another family without cause, because a social worker doesn’t like your religion.

      I highly doubt any of this is true. Source?

      • I was just going to say, “google is free” but what the heck, I’ll play. Please read along with me and there should be no further need for debate.

        Here is the Canadian Department of Justice’s own Q&A about the new C-16 bill, which makes discrimination based on gender identity illegal and also prohibits “hate propaganda” based on same:

        The definitions of “gender expression” and “hate propaganda” are left vague because, as they explain, they are going to lean on various organizations, especially the Ontario Human Rights Commission, to interpret what gender identity constitutes, and what constitutes criminal discrimination against it:

        —“In order to ensure that the law would be as inclusive as possible, the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” are not defined in the Bill. With very few exceptions, grounds of discrimination are not defined in legislation but are left to courts, tribunals, and commissions to interpret and explain, based on their detailed experience with particular cases. Definitions of the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” have already been given by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, for example. The Commission has provided helpful discussion and examples that can offer good practical guidance. The Canadian Human Rights Commission will provide similar guidance on the meaning of these terms in the Canadian Human Rights Act.”—

        Which means the public would have to then go to the CHRA website to learn just what exactly they could go to jail for in the future under the new law. Here it is:

        —“Refusing to refer to a trans person by their chosen name and a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity, or purposely misgendering, will likely be discrimination when it takes place in a social area covered by the Code, including employment, housing and services like education.”—

        As for Sweden, the most famous case is the Domenic Johansson one. I invite you to go down that rabbit hole. You can start with Wikipedia and the links there:

        “In 2009 a child called Domenic Johansson was taken from his parents (Christer Johansson, a Swedish citizen, and Annie Johansson, a native of India) while they were on board Turkish Air Flight 990, waiting for departure to the mother’s home country India.[97] Domenic was taken into custody by the Swedish police due to reports of the child being homeschooled.[97] His parents opted to homeschool Domenic since they would be leaving the country later that year and since he had only turned seven a few months prior to the move.[98] The Johanssons reported that the Minister of Education had approved the homeschooling, but that local officials had refused to supply them with educational materials and fined them for every day Domenic did not attend the local school.[98] In June 2012 the Gotland district court ruled that the Johanssons should retain their parental rights over Domenic, which was later overturned by the appeals court.[99][100]”

        Not only did the State take away their child because of their own clerical error, they also gave the parents scant, supervised visitation and threatened them that they were not allowed to tell their son that they wanted him back. Both the boy and the mother suffered severe emotional stress and the fact that the mother cried during visitations was used as evidence that she was unfit. Social workers were overheard explaining that the child was better off with a foster family because his parents were Christians and “weird.” No evidence of any sort of neglect or abuse was brought forward and the governments stance on this was basically “we don’t want to talk about it, and no they aren’t getting their son back.”

        There are many similar cases in Sweden, where Indian and foreign families seem most likely to arbitrarily have their children stolen by the State. I think you will be as shocked as I am that this goes on. Of course, there are medical kidnappings and such occasionally in the States, too, but this seems far more systematic and intentional.

      • “Source?”, he snarked, and was promptly beaten about the head & shoulders with “source”.
        Face it, son; socialism sucks.

      • “Eventually you end up like Canada, where you can be jailed for not “respecting” someone’s preferred pronouns.”

        “I highly doubt any of this is true. Source?”

        The Bill is C-16, and it passed in Ontario’s legislature. It is… purposefully vague in it’s language, and relies on non-legislative guidelines to function, but the concern is that if someone knowingly and purposefully misgendered an individual, they could be found guilty of committing a class of hate crime, and the maximum penalty for that class of hate crime does involve jail time. It’s a poorly written, innately flawed law, with self-contained, inherent contradictions… And most of all, it’s probably not constitutional because as opposed to a law that says “You cannot say X” which Canada is generally comfortable with passing, this law says “You MUST say Y” Which is entirely different. I have the feeling that the first time it’s attempted to be applied, it’ll get thrown out by SCOC.

        In the meantime, I doubt very much that it will ever get to that point, laws like this tend to operate as a nuisance, to beat people with bureaucracy with no real intention of ever going to court of even collecting the fine. It’s the kind of legislation I loathe, but no one will ever see the inside of a cell for it.

          • Probably not… But there’s the inside of a cell, and then there’s legal purgatory. Will lives be ruined, names dragged through the mud, and months be spent in a courtroom directly attributed to bureaucracy originating from that bill? Almost certainly.

            • Thanks, HT, my point exactly. Chris is using a dishonest tactic progressives use to change the meaning of the debate when they are losing. They pick on semantics and harp on that particular point, regardless of the larger context.

  5. This is a partial reaction to stranger danger, combined with a fear of being held liable if the child is injured while at the store alone with store employees being expected to supervise the kid instead. Add in a little bit of the handful of kids who run around the store like maniacs making noise that disturbs other customers and that’s the recipe for these types of excessive policies.

  6. 1: Kevin was shopping. Your parents treated the store as a free babysitter. Did you purchase toys in that time or did you abuse a place of business for nothing but your own amusement?
    2: no
    3: Circumstantial. Is sending a child to the cereal aisle of a supermarket while you’re in the produce section fundamentally different than a different store in the mall? Does distance matter? I don’t have a good answer.
    4: Probably. Sadface.
    5: The state is probably obligated to draw a line somewhere so yes. The question is where and at what age? See Spartan’s comment.

    • No, my parents did this as a treat for for us, and planned their own shopping so we could have a day in the toy store. That Boston Schwartz was known for encouraging (well-behaved) kids to play with the toys running up to Christmas…it was great PR, and never abused. When I was 12, 1 friend and I took a bus and a subway into the city and spent several hours there.

      Made welcome by the store once again. Your baby-sitting slur was presumptuous and based on ignorance. You know that big toy piano scene in “Big”? Also Schwartz, also accurate: the store thought that having kids playing with their cool toys make them more alluring. Ever visited a classic Schwartz store? I thought not. Best not to impugn someone’s parents caring conduct when you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

      • One consideration here is a broad one in our economy now: I don’t know if they’re franchised or branch stores, but a mall Lego’s probably doesn’t have more than one or two mature people employed, and there will be stretches when it’s kids running the place. They can’t distinguish among customers, time wasters, and ne’er do wells, so a handful of rigid rules take the place of judgment. As in schools, sometimes these rules end up treating nonconformity as a legal problem.

      • I’ve been to FAO Schwartz many times in NYC. I would never leave kids their alone until about 12-13. Not slurring your parents, but it’s not something I would have done. My kids would have a great time if I gave them candy for dinner every night — I’m not doing that either.

        • Yeah, Im not too sure of that analogy. Leaving a kid to peruse unattended in a store, while risky, does have benefits; it’s why you would allow your kids to do so, just at an older age. At some point, we all have to learn (and put what we’ve learned to use) how to properly act when shopping alone.

          There is zero benefit, and no age at which point the benefits outweigh the risks, for feeding a child candy for dinner every night.

          • Sheesh. There are a ton of things that kids want to do that will make them happy but aren’t generally safe. Riding bikes without helmets is more fun, playing King of the Mountain on a raft is more fun than just swimming, playing in the ocean without life jackets is more fun, going to the movies without mom and dad is more fun, etc.

            • Spartan, what is your cut-off age? When will you allow your kids to go to these various activities by themselves?

                • We stated allowing some freedoms around 12 years old for the oldest, and 8 for the youngest. Being alone in the toy aisle at Walmart, for instance, or running around with friends at a Baseball game (local community)

                  In each case, the each child’s ability to handle the situation was discussed in advance between parents before the offer was made.

    • Is anyone who goes window shopping, without intent or means to purchase “abusing a place of business”? Why would stores such as Barnes and Noble set up their environment to encourage this? Isn’t this they trade off that stores like B&N and Lego expect and encourage; in order to increase time spent in store by allowing potential customers to “touch” rather than just view, and to potentially increase sales, understanding that some may use w/o buying?

      If the store encourages that, is it really abuse?

  7. I think we hear more about such cases than before, not that society is that much worse for crime against children.

    100 child abductions per year seems horrible, but many, many more children drown in a bucket each year… (do we outlaw buckets?) so the odds are in parents favor.

      • “Anywhere from 10 to 40 children a year drown in buckets nationwide, according to reports from the Consumer Products Safety Commission.” – Tampa Bay Times. (If I knew how to post the link, I would). The problem is 5 gal buckets and toddlers who tumble into them. They don’t have the strength or dexterity to get themselves out. Toddlers are top heavy and so they land head first and thereby can drown in only a few inches of water.

      • My understanding, from a report I saw some years ago, is that this is mostly toddlers getting upended in a mop bucket, or similar situation. They get stuck at their legs are now off the floor (think of wearing the bucket as a hat, but upside down and enough water to covet the kid’s head))

  8. I remember walking 2km each way to school and back usually but not always with my older brother (two years older than me) from the age of five, sometimes buying something on the way. If parents teach their children how to find their way from place to place, how to cross the road and how to behave and buy things in a shop then the authorities should butt out.

    • “how to cross the road”

      Something that was inculcated to most of us early on in a one minute conversation, so no problem, right?

      In a perfect world, yes, but perfection is not a human attribute.

      The “77 Square Miles Surrounded By A Sea Of Reality” (Madison, WI) has an interesting approach at many of its intersections/crosswalks; they have a quiver of “red flags” on both sides.

      In theory, one takes the “red flag,” intended to alert vehicle operators that the flag bearer is “walking,” and while hoisting it in a manner they deem fit, proceed to navigate their way to the other side of the street.

      Yet the majority of the younger flag bearers bear their flags under their arms in order to keep both hands available for a far more pressing activity: “boop-beep-beeping” (face-in-a-screen).

      They step off the curb not paying a whit to visually sizing up their endeavor, resulting in many brake-squealing near-misses, and worse.

      They assume this red flag is some sort of impervious force-field that will protect them from vehicle operators that are most likely boop-beep-beeping themselves.

      Local author/historian David Mollenhoff has correctly opined that these kids are going to get seriously injured or killed if they ever find themselves in NYC expecting the same driver deference.

      One unanswered problem? We’re left to ponder what one is to do when all the red flags are on the other side of the street.

  9. I shopped everywhere alone in the small city I lived in as a kid: I found some really cool stuff in the war surplus store, the auction barn, went to a theater with a friend and watched sci-fi and horror movies, the toy store, etc. I guess it is a different matter in a big city like New York. Still, the LEGO store was practicing CYA to the extreme. They easily could have inquired of the kid where their mother was and relaxed along with telling the kid to stay in the store.

  10. 1. When you saw Kevin McCallister shopping alone in the New York City toy store in “Home Alone 2,” did you immediately think that it was unrealistic that Mr. Duncan didn’t call the cops? No
    When I was 11 and my sister was 9, my parents dropped us off at the Boston FAO Schwartz store (“Home Alone 2’s” “Duncan’s Toy Chest” was modeled on FAO Schwartz) while they went shopping at various stores nearby. We were in there for hours. (It was a great day.) They came back and picked us up later. Were my folks being reckless? No, different time.

    2. Do you think children are in more danger in 2017 than they were in earlier years? Yes for a number of reasons.
    1. I do believe there are more people with criminal tendencies now than there were then.
    2. The criminal justice system is currently more oriented toward criminals than victim rights. Especially if there is a race or gender complication.
    3. The system puts more dangerous people out on the streets than in previous years because of prison overcrowding.
    4. Lawyers more often blame victims or their parents when bad things happen to kids. And social media is even worse.
    5. Chris, no I don’t have statistics that support this. It’s strictly my opinion.

    3. Why isn’t allowing a child to shop alone with a parent nearby and clear guidelines in place for the child to follow good parenting? It is good parenting.

    4. Is this a worst case scenario problem in society? Yes
    Is society reaching a consensus that if there is any chance of danger to a minor, that chance is unacceptable no matter how remote it is? Yes, aided by litigious parents.

    5. Should it be up to the state to veto a parent’s judgment regarding what challenges a child can be trusted to undertake? We aren’t talking about putting children obvious peril in these cases, just giving children challenges that train them for competent adulthood. No, the state should stay out of parenting unless parents are subjecting their children to obvious peril. And, the state should be very careful about it even then. The foster care system is broken.

    This either failed to be approved or failed to send so I’m sending again. If it shows up twice I apologize. If it doesn’t show up this time I’ll know it somehow fails the approval criterion.

    • 1. Don’t think that. If it doesn’t appear, send me an e-mail. Posts end up in spam sometimes for no reason. I try to check spam for this, but it’s a pain—we’re talking one genuine post trapped for every 5000 or so spam ads—so I may miss it, unless I know whose post to look for.

      2. “A different time” is a rationalization that needs to be added to the list. It’s no answer when the earlier practice made sense, and the latter one doesn’t.

      • I’m not sure it’s a rationalization here. I’ll need time to think about it, but maybe I should have said different circumstances.

        • Still, thinking about it trying to eliminate all possible sources of danger no matter how remote from a child’s life infantilizes and arrests a child’s development. It also has the unfortunate effect of making them paranoid about the world and strangers. Child abuse is much more likely to occur in the family than with strangers. Perhaps we should pass a law to have the government install monitoring devises inside every home in the nation so government employees can keep track of interactions between family members (he says sarcastically).

        • I disagree, ‘granny, that were live in worse times… however, you raise some good points about how society treats parents, children and criminals. Worth some thought.

  11. It’s interesting; these questions are asked from a privileged point of view (I dont mean that as an insult). The median income for a family in Pittsford, NY, where mother and son are from, is $119,509, the mother was off shopping, and the mall in question is pretty fancy looking (a few steps up from the Dollar Tree, in terms of quality). I have no idea of the race of mother and son, but it’s a safe assumption that they were not impoverished.

    If a similar scenario presented itself, but at a poorer mall, with a poorer family, would the results end up the same? And if so, would the mother be branded as a bad parent, taking advantage of free child care? Is it ok to take advantage of free child care, if you actually cannot afford child care? (though, fully aware that this is not a situation where child care is “required”) Do the means of a family change the parenting expectations, or the amount of shame thrown their way when an unnecessary, avoidable risk is taken? Obviously, parents with money can afford better parenting materials, but if the potential danger caused by lack of supervision is the same, does that matter? Should it?

    Is it similarly bad parenting when a 13 year old is shot, over 4th of July weekend, in Chicago, as he was out walking the streets at 2:37 AM? Or are the expectations lowered in a situation like that, b/c it occurred in Gage Park (Median income: $36,463; 54% of the residents lack a HS diploma)? In other words, are the differing circumstances an invitation to que up the ol’ rationalization machine?

  12. 1. No. Between 1955 and 1960 (10 yo to 15 yo), was sent to the store numerous times as we had a convenience store within a mile.
    2. No, we are not. Twenty-four hour news cycle just makes sure local news is plastered all over all media, nationwide.
    3. It is. Contrary to Hillary, it does NOT take a village to raise a kid. Unless the village is well-stocked with idiots.
    4. Most assuredly a worst case scenario, resulting from a belief that the government must protect all people from all things.
    5. Absolutely the state is over-reaching. See number 4, above. “Think of the children”?

  13. Child Neglect: N.Y. Soc. Serv. Law § 371 Failure to exercise a minimum degree of care in providing a child under 18 with proper supervision or guardianship …

    As a society, we hold people criminally and civilly responsible even when they exercise very reasonable judgement. The parent actions are reasonable as she allowed her ten year old child to shop his lego interests as she shopped hers at the same mall but the whatifs start coming into focus…
    What if some harm happened to the child, no matter how remote the possibility, who becomes responsible, the parent or the store clerk or the office or all?
    What if the police officer lets the matter drop, the parent repeats the behavior and some harm comes to the child, no matter how remote the possibility, who is responsible the parent or the police officer or both?
    The store clerk could be ruined on a very remote possibility of harm.
    The police officer could be ruined on a very remote possibility of harm.
    The parent is sacrificed to protect the other parties from the very remote possibility of civil and criminal liability.

    I do not know how I ever managed to walk to school grades 1-12 without my parents being arrested!

    • ”I do not know how I ever managed to walk to school grades 1-12 without my parents being arrested!”

      Or you disappearing without a trace, it’s a miracle you’re here today… Perhaps during that period of your matriculation we hadn’t sufficiently…um…”evolved” as a society?

      Taking that a step further, an e-pal of mine had an interesting take along those lines with his: “Progressivism and the New Frontier.”

      “Heck, if today’s mentality had prevailed 500 years ago, The New World would never even have been settled.

      “As Robert Zubrin has said, the vigor of the human race requires a frontier that encourages individualism with individual risk-taking resulting in great individual reward. There is no universal health care or safety net on the frontier. No OSHA. No EPA. No guarantees.

      ”(The frontier) is the environment where humanity excels and progresses. Without a frontier, freedom cannot endure. To quote Zubrin, ‘The cops are too close.’ ”

  14. Absolutely ridiculous. Crime in general is way down over the last two decades (2000-present). Per capita murder rates have not been this low since the mid 60’s, Rape since the mid 70’s. Violent crime overall is as low as it has been since the early 70’s. (*

    Stranger danger kidnappings are, and have always been exceedingly rare, to the point of being a non-issue. Teaching children that “strangers” are the danger does a disservice to them. They should be meeting strangers, in controlled environments from a young age. You will find that most strangers have no ill will and are more then willing to help a child in need. Children need to be able to discern when a stranger is acting “weird” so they can avoid, but how can they tell what is weird if they are never given the opportunity to interact with strangers?

    I grew up in Orange County in the 70’s and the 80’s. My siblings and I would walk all over the place. We would walk easily a mile or so to Biola University to the pool, and then spend hours swimming, only to walk back home, no parents with us, we were all between 6 and 10 at the time. I remember playing down by the rail road tracks, going to the mall. Walked to school everyday, from 2nd grade through 5th. I remember getting chased by a dog that jumped the fence on day. We would have to go outside to play, mostly on our own during the summer. We met other kids, interacting with them, got bullied by them, bullied other kids ourselves. Made friends, made enemies (if you can call it that). I would walk down to the Circle K and buy a pack of Moore light 100’s (cigarettes) for my mom all the time (6th-8th grade).

    The point is… we had to interact with others, including grown up adults. We learned that not everything is fair, this is not always an authority figure to solve your issue, that you had to do that yourselves. We learned that there were odd people, that were best to avoid. We learned that we needed to be careful crossing busy streets. We learned how to interact with each other.

    Now we have these kids, who never are left alone, even for a few minutes, with other kids, or to go find the park. Now they need an authority figure constantly on hand to settle all arguments. Then they go to college and beg for diversity counsels and safe spaces and administrators who will protect them from the free speech of others.

    • “You will find that most strangers have no ill will and are more then willing to help a child in need.”

      I have always thought that this was meant by the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child”. If a child gets into difficulty then there was usually an adult nearby to help out.

  15. —Child Safety. When three of us, cousins (two girls of 8, one boy of 7) visited relatives living on Central Park West on some weekends, we were escorted by a grown-up across the street after lunch, loaded with with roller skates, books, balls and a piece of fruit each (and a nickel each to use a pay phone “in an emergency” — which luckily never materialized because we usually bought popsicles instead … and left to play on our own until dinnertime. The only unusual thing I ever remember happening was my accidentally sitting on my peeled banana, and spending the rest of the afternoon running around with gooey pants on wondering why older people were looking at me oddly (and I think, politely, trying not to laugh).

    —Pronouns. This year, for the first time, the film festival volunteers – enough for the 60,000+ patrons who were expected (and who arrived in +’s) – were told at the mandatory orientation that we were to use the following greeting for ALL, on first meeting:

    “Hi, my name is _____, pronouns: he, him, his or she, her, hers”

    Someone asked if they could use both if they were questioning. The straight-faced reply was: “This is not a joke” and the incipient laughter was smothered. A few of us were dead angry about it. When we met afterwards, we decided on the following course of action and subsequently wrote emails to the festival administrators saying that we would be happy to comply after we observed the staff trying it on the first half dozen people they greeted. The emails were signed:

    “Bye. My name is ______, pronouns: it, its and that’s that.”

    We heard nothing more until the festival began several weeks later. Nothing was said, the announcement was not repeated, but all the staff were wearing round red stickers that had their gender pronouns on them. The ditzy revolution is revolving ever faster.

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