Now that I am 30, I am starting to realize that things really have changed a lot since I was a kid. The one area that has really stood out to me recently was the subject of children walking to school. I can remember when I was in kindergarten and my sister was in grade four we would walk to school together. It was a fairly good distance to walk, and sometimes it seemed like a real chore when the snow was deep and my four year old legs could not keep up with my sister. As I grew up, I can honestly only remember a handful of times that we got a ride to school. Unless it was REALLY cold, we walked. In the spring/summer/fall we would ride our bikes sometimes, but we rarely got rides.
Apparently now it is the norm to drive your child to school. I have no doubt that there are creeps out there, and I would have a hard time sending my young child to walk to school on their own, even if it was a short distance. But I was informed by my sister (who has two boys, 4 and 6 years old) that kids just don't walk to school anymore. There have been too many stories in the news of children being abducted, or hassled by strangers. I saw a couple of stories in the news today of kids and teenagers being approached in the city, but no one had been caught. Scary!
When my sister was telling me about this, she also reminded me that when she started kindergarten, in 1981, our family lived in the apartments on Appleby Drive in Meadowgreen. She attended WP Bate School, and walked to school, by herself. She had to cross 18th Street, by herself, when she was four! Maybe kids were a little more independent back then? But the thought of my youngest nephew walking to school by himself is laughable. I can picture him getting side tracked and not making it to school.
It's not that I don't think parents shouldn't drive their kids to school (or maybe walk them, when it's nice out). I just can't believe how much has changed in the last 20 years.