So the other day I was reading to Alex from Ramona the Pest, by Beverly Cleary. For the most part it holds up. Still a great book. However, there are times when you can definitely tell this book was written in a different age.
Last night there was a particular scene, when Ramona’s sister Beezus has a dentist appointment. Ramona’s mom tells Ramona that she’s got to stay home by herself until quarter past 8, and then walk herself to school, and then just leaves to take Beezus to the dentist. Ramona, being in KINDERGARTEN, is not exactly clear on what “quarter past 8” means, and accidentally leaves late, arriving after school has already started. The whole thing is presented very matter of fact, as if to say “ha ha, kids are so dumb! They can’t even get themselves to kindergarten by themselves!”
WHAT. THE. HECK??
Look, I know it was a different time and all, but it wasn’t THAT different. Did people actually do this in the 60s? Just be like, “alright kid, you’re 5 years old…guess you’re on your own!” Ah, kindergarten…time to push that baby bird out of the nest and let them learn to fly, am I right?
You can accuse modern parents of “helicoptering” all you want, but telling a kid who doesn’t even yet know how to tell time she’s responsible for getting herself out the door and to school on her own seems a little bit crazy. On the other hand, I don’t know; maybe kindergarteners really were capable of that kind of independence once upon a time. Maybe my “modern sensibilities” are stunting the growth of my kids?
Or, maybe the 60s was a lawless time where parents were INSANE??