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August 13, 2008

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Write the article...
Your voice on this topic is so very needed...
And just so you know, I am still praying and sending positive energy to your entire family :)
Thinking of you all!
Gina :)

I spent hours at the creek. And in the fields near my house. A corn field!!! Until when my mother would forbid us the corn field, knowing that the harvest was coming any day.

(and I lived in town. yes, in town. with a creek and a corn field next to my house. that corn field is now a subdivision.)

Where I used to live, I wouldn't let the kids in the yard, let alone the street alone. We lived on a blind curve where cars raced by.

Where we live now, children roam. Even in the street, since there are no sidewalks. But it's just different here. Hard to explain, but it is. If someone stopped my child around here, even at 6, I'd be hard pressed to understand why they felt a need to do so.

no word yet, I assume. Still praying.

We live on a farm by a river and my 4 year old is free - encouraged, pleaded with! – to go outside without me. We are planning to move somewhere less isolated, with neighbors and activity and human contact, and I'm worried about how we're both going to adjust to the restrictions that will be necessitated by a street and strangers walking by.

I grew up in a different country, Brazil, where things are thankfully still more relaxed regarding children. Or maybe not (I've been here in the U.S. for 12 years now, so I can hardly state that). I walked to school (no street crossing) and back for a year back when I was 7.5 and lived in a city. Then, of course, my family's circumstances changed when we moved to a boarding academy in a completely rural area. From 8 years old on (my brother 6) we played completely unsupervised in the woods, exploring, climbing trees all the way to the very top (we named the trees, and we each had our "houses" -- favorite branches -- in them), sliding in a dirt ditch, riding our bikes, even riding our bikes in the asphalt road (a steep hill too) that led from where the main campus was to the almost 1 mile away place where the faculty housing was located.

Not only that, but when our cousins came to spend their vacations with us (one cousin 2 years older than me, the other my age, and then some other cousins, all younger than us) we and some friends, a group of almost 10 kids, would take off and walk miles and miles through farmland, crossing a river which had a "bridge" (more like just an access) made of two steel cables, one for feet, one for hand. Climbing a mountain... and then walking all the way back home. No supervision whatsoever. Another time we walked through the green wheat fields... found an abandoned farmstead where we ate sour tangerines...

My childhood was unforgettable, but also very unconventional, due to the location. I wonder if children growing up in the same type of rural location boarding academies in Brazil still have the freedom that we had 25 years ago. Maybe not...

(I've always wanted to write about my childhood -- for children -- maybe someday).

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