Monday, February 01, 2010

free-range lecture

Yesterday will get marked in the calendar as one terrifically cool day. With three good friends agreeing to head to a talk given by Lenore Skenazy, the founder of what's being called the Free-Range Movement. Yup, "America's Worst Mom" was heading to Washington D.C., and since I often feel as if that title should most surely be conferred to me, I knew that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see her in person. When Jennifer and I reviewed her book, Free-Range Kids back in July, we even had the immense pleasure of chatting with her on the phone to record for a podcast for the site. I had a blast during that conversation, really adoring Lenore's sense of humor and enthusiasm in her message.

Well, meeting Lenore in person was even better. When we arrived at the site for the talk a bit early, I hoped to be able to greet her and maybe just get a quick photo taken. She immediately suggested that we all sit down in the cafe for a drink and to chat a bit before she needed to be in place for the talk. So there we five sat, chatting about our kids and our work experiences, the cool city where three of us live, and our thoughts about the whole concept of 'free-range kids.' It was quite surreal to me to be talking face to face with an author who I respect and who I regularly read online. Authors are rock stars in my eyes, and she is a prolific writer, with a humorous streak that gives her sharp writing the perfect tone to my ear.

Afterwards, her talk was like having a condensed version of the her book come to life. She alternated between quoting serious statistics about the realistic dangers of the world (and the numerous unrealistic ones that we've come to view as common place), and practically doing stand-up comedy as she pointed out some of the many, many fear-mongering products that are being thrown at parents as "necessities." It was a joy to be among an audience of people listening and agreeing and laughing along as I found myself doing. Lenore is an entertaining speaker, that's for sure, but she doesn't just talk fluff. Her book is definitely a worthwhile read for any parent today. Listening to her talk on the subject was even better. And, hanging out with her for a casual chat was beyond cool.

All in all, a perfectly wonderful day.

Go Free-Range!

Fully aware of sounding like a starstruck fool,