|The bay side @ Tanjong Rhu|
I was somewhere half-way through my run and I saw a young boy (I think he would be about 10-11 years old) walking to school (alone), holding two heavy bags. It was around 6:20am and it was dark! The direction he was walking towards looked like he was heading to the nearest train station! For a second it was unbelievable!
And then I thought, would our kids ever do something like this (or rather would we let them do it?). I have done it in my life, but would I let my kids do it was the bigger question!
Immediately my mind rewound to a a discussion at our home 6 months ago. My then 'going to be' 7-year old, claimed one morning, that she would like to walk back home 'alone' from the bus stop every afternoon! I took a 'deep breadth' and told myself maybe I should take her seriously. And the 'mother' in me said, "that's primarily the biggest agenda in my day..am I ready for it as yet?" But I felt that if I can't do it in Singapore, I probably couldn't do it anywhere else in the world! So I probably need to take the step now...
And so our daily routine started. We avoided telling the 'father' for nearly a week as we both wanted to get used to this routine first. And it worked well. I suddenly realised that my girl was growing up and it was time for me to start 'letting go'. The bus stop got extended to going to the playground by herself, the minimart (located in our basement), even to friend's homes (wherever she was comfortable to go by herself).
I don't recollect when I started doing all this by myself. Maybe even earlier. I anyway never had an 'aunty' (typical name for your helper in Singapore), tagging along with me. And being the younger of 2 girls, I guess my mother was a bit more experienced by the time it was my turn!
I don't think there is a 'right' age for any kid. It varies kid to kid. I know kids who have been doing it earlier and I also know kids who are probably 10-years old but still have someone accompanying them. I think we are super lucky to be in an environment where 'safety' is given utmost importance and that further enables us to make our kids more independent.
Till date every time I find my way around in a new city, or adapt myself to any situation, I thank my parents for putting me through a lot of harsh situations as a child. Now am sure each of those incidents, only made me stronger and more mature.
And before I realised, I was done with my 5km run and the boy who made me think, was probably close to his destination!