Today Maya and her friends attended a Valentine’s Day dance. Most of the kids who went were either fellow homeschoolers or former homeschoolers. I suspect the age range was something like 11-18, with a handful of adults there to help out.
The best part is, the dance started at 6pm and was not too far from where we live, so Maya and her friends went on their own. The official festivities ended at 9pm, and around 9:40 or so I got a text saying they were heading to a local diner and would be back later. I expect they’ll walk in the door sometime in the next 30 minutes. Which means close to 11pm.
Here’s the thing. At 13, Maya is absolutely confident and capable of being out with her friends in the city. She didn’t need me to escort her to and from her destination. She knew I wouldn’t mind if she went to get something to eat afterward and stayed out late, as long as she checked in to let me know where the group was going.
Kids in the city are so fortunate that long before they are old enough to drive, they can go out with friends and grow in their independence. They don’t need to depend on someone carting them around by car, thereby dictating when and where they can be at all times.
Contrary to what many may think, the city is also safe. Both my kids are much more comfortable in the crowded streets and subways of the city than they are in the country, where the dark is DARK and anyone might be lurking. (Not that people are lurking, but because you can’t see anything, imaginations run high…) In the city, there are always people out and about, stores and restaurants are open and since everything is a walk or subway ride away, you can’t get lost in the true sense of the word. Turned around? Yes. Lost? Not really.
We love living in the city for a lot of reasons; for me personally, the knowledge that my kids can travel independently long before many of their suburban peers ranks high among them.