Monday, December 20, 2010

The Free-Range Kids blog has posted the 2010 Golden Helicopter Parenting Awards, the Ig-Nobel Prize of parenting and sanity generally.

Doomed, I say.

I really approve of the Free-Range Kids blog, but I don't check in much because it's just too damn depressing. Leaves me thinking that the only options are vasectomy, purchase the Unabomber's land (lately for sale!), or move to Turkey. Turkish kids wander the streets of major cities at will, negotiate urban traffic and run cheerfully to greet strangers. You'd think they'd all be dead of tetanus, splattered on undercarriages, or held captive in basement gimp-rooms. And yet they seem to thrive....

Three Turkish girls at the Çifte Minareli Medrese, Erzurum, Turkey.
Talking to Strangers

This was downtown in a city of over 360,000, no parents in sight. Some of the most striking things about Turkey were the large numbers of (very friendly) young people, and the moments of feeling like you were in a '50s movie, where street urchins say "Hi, mister!" and everyone acts proud of their hometown. I don't want to digress too far, but suffice it to say that within 12 hours of arriving in Gümüşhane, we two random travelers had our picture taken with the mayor. Turkey certainly has problems, including some very big ones, but there's a sense of pride and optimism there which I never feel here (not even at the Salmon demo derby).

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