07 September 2011

for the love of kids (and parenting)

photo I took of my friends kid ♥ trying on her father's helmet

Naturally most parents (and communities) aim to do the best they can to raise an independent, intelligent and compassionate kid. But, WOW, this recent article about a 'Tennessee Mom Threatened With Arrest For Letting Daughter Bike to School' on DC Streets Blog (via Treehugger) is pretty outrageous.

Funny timing since this past weekend Freakonomics Radio broadcasted 'The Economist’s Guide to Parenting'. Half way through the broadcast they dicuss how humans are terrible risk assessors. Sure parents want to keep their kids safe from most accidents, like being struck by lightening, getting kidnapped or even hit by a car -- even though the odds of these happening are unlikely. I just LOVE the advice given by Bryan Caplan on the broadcast where he says "if you find you worry about it, even though you know its not sensible... I recommend you go reading about how to cure yourself of anxiety problems rather then trying to take action to reduce this illusory risk"!

Also just recently, and randomly, came across the following article: Is Cycling Dangerous? on Ken Kifer's Bike Pages... here are some viable points it makes on Why Fear is Dangerous:

To some extent, this fear of cycling actually leads to additional deaths. For instance, parents do not instruct their children how to ride in the street, but instead they just tell them to "watch for cars" and "to get off the road." However, the day comes when these primitive rules aren't good enough, and the traffic report reads something like this: "The child was riding after dark without a light, on the wrong side of the road, and failed to stop for a stop sign. The motorist couldn't stop quickly enough." In fact, the majority of cycling deaths are accidents like this one; that is, the behavior of the bike rider made no sense at all.
Teaching the rules of the road, etiquette, and bicycle handling skills may be the best steps a parent can take to keep their kids riding... happily ever after.

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