Four years ago, we took the kids hiking on Mount Lemmon and No. 3 marveled at how he managed to find a rock outcropping with the perfect butt groove.
Dropping is apparently a thing.
And no, I don’t mean a mic drop, but a Dutch tradition in which kids (usually ‘tweens) are blindfolded and loaded into a car, then dumped in the woods to find their way back. A New York Times article recently detailed the fascinating ritual, which would pretty much be considered child endangerment here. We helicopter-y Americans reacted with horror at the story. But back in the day — which would be the ’70s — as a baby, I rode around in a Ford Galaxy 500 without a car seat… because they hadn’t been invented. I just rolled around in the backseat like a loose grapefruit and then when I was 10, I was allowed to walk or ride my bike (no helmet either!) a mile* to the Thrifty’s for ice cream. These days, I don’t let my 25-pound dog outside at 4 a.m. without a big dog escort.
Different times, different culture.
Dropping is designed to allow kids to solve their own problems and learn to not rely on adults.
OooooKkkk… But if we’re talking about *my* kids, if I’m going to make them self sufficient, it doesn’t involve plopping them in the wilderness and expecting them to make their way out because that wouldn’t happen. No, for true survival skills training I would lock them in a room with only a refrigerator and force them to find specific items shouted out at them that are directly in their field of vision in 5 seconds or less — or they’d have to clean the toilets with their ungloved hands.
Next challenge would be talking a store manager into accepting a return past its cutoff date.
Up next would be writing a list of everything they need from Target — and then not being allowed to ask me to make a return trip the next day for things they forgot. They’d have to go without until the next scheduled trip.
Finally — and toughest of all — putting together a school-appropriate outfit in under 30 minutes with no second-guessing allowed. I’d like to see how those little Dutch kids would deal with that sort of American dropping.
*It might have only been about a half mile, but in the triple-digit heat without sunscreen, it seemed like a mile.