We moved our kids out of the city when they were in Elementary school. We did it to give them extra space, a less structured upbringing, and a chance to grow up with fresh air, home grown food and slower living.
Now teens though, our rural lifestyle has its challenges.
We don’t live on a bus route, and friends are a a 20 minute drive (or hour+ bike ride) away. Our kids are “stuck” unless we can get in the car to drive them, which seems counter to all the reasons we chose to live on a rural farm in the first place.
We hadn’t noticed how much being cut off from their friends affected them until they had the freedom and independence to go off on their own. Visits to the local coffee shop, lake and friends loosened the “anxiety” over summer. The scooters were easy to use, road safe and had a battery life of about 40 minutes.
As a parent it was a strange thing to send my girls off on their own, after holding so tightly to them for the past years. To encourage their independence instead of controlling it. To wave them off for the day trusting them and the community we live in that they will be safe. But this is exactly what we need to do, and it reminds us of the light trouble we got into as youth, how we developed our independence through trial and error and experience.
So this summer we gave our girls a little bit of freedom and they used it well.
And I know it is only the beginning.