Parenting: Free Free Set Them Free!

By today’s modern western standards, I was a terrible parent.

I was self involved. I was busy. I was one person dealing with four offspring with no partner for nearly a decade. Neglect? Normal.

Forget about it.

On the other hand I was a very good parent.

I read to my kids every night, or as close as we could come, even well
after they could read for themselves. In later years, they have read to me.
The payback is quite worth it!

Listening to Thomas reading Harry Potter by the fire at Lake Almanore
some years back was one of the highlights of my living experience…

So, yes. Some things I got very right.

And one of those; in fact, perhaps the central element of all of what I did right was to give my children freedom.

Freedom to be.

Freedom to go off roaming in the forest all on their own (within earshot)…

It was part of the reason I chose the Big Island of Hawaii to raise them on -
at least for a decade – might have been nice if we’d gotten in a few more years…

But at least they experienced a similar level of freedom to which I had become accustomed as a child – no limits once you made your way out doors…

Tree forts and swings and all manner of invention. Dams and swimming holes.
The stuff childhood is made of.

Today’s children are rich with technology.

Mine grew up without television.

Today’s children are rich in “stuff” -

Mine grew up with hand-me-downs and thrift store specials -

But they rode their bikes on our dirt roads as if they owned them.

They climbed the trees and built the bridges, forts and dams that sprang
from their own imagination – and ate bananas and papayas and guavas
right off the trees they played in.

Looking back on it all tonight the song that leapt into my brain was



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