Cultural Notes


A few years ago, I’m not sure exactly when, some rule somewhere changed, so now school districts do not have to provide bus service to students that live within 2 miles of their school. It seems that triggered a mad rush to build schools (especially elementary) in the middle of neighborhoods. Though, in fairness, some were already in neighborhoods, like the one down the street from me. But, in the past 5 or 6 years, the helicopter parents problem has become so much worse; doubly so if it is raining. Sometime mornings, I can’t get out of my street because of the half mile long line of cars waiting to drop their one kid.

“Back in my day”, when I went to private school (too many miles away to walk or ride a bike to), I carpooled with some other kids that lived near me. We had to know what all the parents’ cars looked like, and look for a number on the visor to confirm it was the correct car. It wasn’t rocket surgery. And everyone knew not to step off the sidewalk until it was our turn. They don’t seem to grasp that concept anymore.

Also back in my day, after we moved to Texas, in middle school, the years that I chose to ride my bike, I did so regardless of the weather, even when it was freezing, or as close to it as we get.

And another thing… when did school zones get expanded to cover, like, a half a freaking mile or more away from the school? I think the school zone ended about 20 yards down the road from my middle school. I just checked Google maps… Ok, maybe it was like 50 yards, but still, it is only a half a block away from the school property. That was plenty.


Agreed… and strongly.

My commute to and from HS was an hour…
1/2 mile walk at each end (no matter the weather unless completely snowbound), plus a 30 min (if conditions were good) bus ride.

Elementary was only the 1/2 mile walk… well, maybe a little less.

I rode the bus along that route to and from HS so often…
(How often was it?)

I was riding the bus homeward one afternoon senior year (12th grade), standing as often happened because of lack of seats.
I glanced out of the window, idly wondering where we were.


Yeah, the little 18 inch bits of painted brick… no names, no shop logos or signs… the freakin’ bottoms of the buildings.


I remember walking to kindergarten with my mom (about 3/4 of a mile) and walking by myself or with a friend from 1st grade on. Junior high was about a mile away, walk or bike, high school was about two miles away, and guess what? I walked. Yes, there is a very small risk of a child getting snatched, but there were usually packs of kids, and we were taught to avoid strangers.

I find it appalling when I read an article about a parent getting arrested because their child over 7 or 8 was found walking by themselves in a known area. Teaching a child to be able to make decisions and do things for themselves is what parents are for, isn’t it?


Yeah, they have a special name for it these days, “hands off parenting” or something equally stupid.
Back when I was growing up it was just called “parenting”. Or more likely, it wasn’t called anything at all because it was just what parents did


I’ve had students fail my classes because they are so accustomed to people doing things for them, constantly reminding them of due dates, and taking every dumb excuse they come up with as a reason for an exception. They are often surprised when they actually fail after I’ve told them several times that they were going to unless they changed their behaviour.

I had one student who couldn’t get himself out of bed in time to get to class despite the fact that his parents had rented him an apartment two blocks from the school. I had another who cried when I informed him on the last day that yes, he had in fact failed. Their parents did them no favours by doing everything for them and making sure that nothing negative ever touched their lives.


I always either walked or rode my bike. Senior year of high school, I got a car so I drove.


The term you are looking for is “free-range parenting”

You’re welcome.

I am a free-range parent now that they are older. I often turn them out for the day. Not allowed to cross the super busy street though… People go like 60 and there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. Luckily all their friends live in the neighborhood.


Nope, you are a parent - a good one. Letting kids learn for themselves without needing to manage every aspect of their lives. I suspect that your kids would do a lot better in @Nabiki’s class :slight_smile:

And yes, thanks, that is probably the term I was looking for. I still think it’s stupid :laughing:


Sounds like it was made up by someone crunchy.


The area I was in, we took the bus to school. However, when I had to stay late for music practice on Friday, I would carry my double-bass on this route from the school to my home (across a busy highway), and then back again on Monday. They said it was too delicate to put on the bus. The bass was too delicate to put on the bus, but it was okay if a kid in grade 6-8 CARRIED IT that distance.

Yes, I grew up in a cemetery. My father was the caretaker of the property and we lived on an old farm house there. On the map, it would have been where the squarish building is near Albion Road.