Saturday, 26 April 2014


I’m writing a series of blog posts exploring the books “How to be Free” and “The Idle Parent” written by Tom Hodgkinson.  I enjoyed a lot of the ideas expressed in these books, and think that exploring them further will help me to explore the principles behind my own way of living and parenting.

Chapter 5 – The More, the Merrier

In this chapter Tom talks about how things are much easier when we have company and when children can do things together in larger groups.  It's only in the last few centuries that we've gone down the isolation route, and this has got much worse in the last couple of decades, when we fear for the safety of our children and keep them cooped up safe in their bedrooms with a screen for company. 

How does this match up to the ink-spots-and-grass-stains life?

Again in this chapter I completely agree with Tom.  I know that I am required less than some of my friends, because my two children play happily together.  Even more so when there are more children together, they take themselves off and organise a game of some description and the adults are only required occasionally to mediate some disagreement or tend a grazed knee.

It's good for the adults too to get a chance of some conviviality instead of staring at that pile of ironing or messing around on Facebook, or doing yet another jigsaw puzzle.

In real life though it's not always so easy.  The other mums at pre-school are always keen to arrange a play-date, which is great.  Even better though would be when the children can just run in a pack, pop around to one another's houses (not so easy in rural areas where we are all so widely spread), and go off to play in the meadow together and build dens (until you find that somebody has called in the police because there were children playing in the woods - I kid you not, it's been in the newspaper just this week!).  They are a bit little to be going off without an adult yet, though I'm building up to it... C will happily go down to the end of the road to buy eggs from a neighbour on his own (he's 4 and a half), or he and Bug will go together.  Maybe over the summer we'll build up to going to the cafe around the corner to buy milk (still no roads to cross, but that's on a main road).  I'd like for them both to be confident to go and play with their friends as they get older, with the obvious "stranger danger" talk ringing in their ears, and the "Who are you with? Where are you going? When will you be back?" questions answered.  I just don't know whether other parents would be willing to let their children out to play in the same way anymore?  And if they could fit "playing out" around all the organised dance, swimming, and football classes that seem to be part of life once you start school.

No comments:

Post a Comment