Only Two Hands

Two hands.

That’s all we have,

to hold our children.

We can try

to keep them safe,

protect them.

But we only have

two hands.

As they grow

we must

loosen our hold,

let them make choices,

good and bad,

take risks,

go places,

and, yes, even cycle to school

if we choose.

Later our hold fragments,

we see them

in the brambles,


and we try to help.

Until we watch them

 fly away,

our tears unseen,

our hands empty,


that they’ll return.

I wrote this in response to press reports in the UK about whether some parents should allow their young children, aged five and eight, the independence to cycle to school.

Have you read the reports?

What do you think?



Filed under action, adjust, change, failure, fear, happiness, hope, instincts, positive, progress, realistic, risk, safe, timing

4 responses to “Only Two Hands

  1. Christine

    You certainly have a point. When I think of the freedom I had as a child compared to children of today, I shake my head with regret because I think kids learn from experience. But life is different today, roads are busier and faster for example and parents like to feel they have control and can keep their children safe. From sad experience, I know this isn’t the case…

  2. I understand the parents’ dilemma and there’s no right or wrong about it.

    I guess each parent must make their own decision but I don’t see why schools should interfere.

    As for being able to keep our children safe, well…

  3. Linda,

    I haven’t read the articles you are referring to but in the US, I find it hard to believe that a school system would be willing to assume the liability for allowing 5 year old children to ride their bikes to school. I’m sure that parents would be required to sign a waiver that would make your head spin.

    My wife and I have worked very hard to enable our family to live in a safe neighborhood, so fortunately our daughters have grown up with some degree of freedom to ride their bikes around the community, walk to friends’ houses, etc. However, I don’t think we would have let them ride their bikes to school at age 5. It was hard enough watching them get on the bus in the morning at that age much less having them pedal off to school.

    I wonder, do the schools that allow / encourage this have a method to let parents know each morning that their child actually made it to school safely, or do the parents just have to hope the child comes riding up the driveway later that afternoon?

    Unfortunately, in today’s world I believe there should be reasonable limits on the amount of “freedom” 5 – 8 year old children are given. It is sad, but we all know there are predators out there and it only takes one Amber Alert to devastate a family. I am pretty sure that my daughters would still be riding the bus.


  4. Sadly, Ken, we have few ‘school buses’ in the UK and they certainly don’t cover many areas satisfactorily. Hopefully more will be in service soon.
    I think the particular parents concerned had taken all sensible precautions – only riding on the pavement (sidewalk) which is allowed for children, but you’re right to say there are still dangers.
    It will be interesting to see whether other parents follow suit.

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