Of course, allowing more independence (see Sunday’s post) has it’s drawback--- things DON’T always go as planned.
As I have mentioned before, Ricki is very good with buses. Even though I have nearly always accompanied her on the bus, we often sit apart, and she always knows when to get off if it is a place we have been to previously.
Thus, in a mood of “let’s let her do what she can”, I decided after a doctor’s visit yesterday to let Ricki get off the bus near her school, while I would be getting off one stop earlier. The only problem was that the bus that we caught does not pass her school,; it turns left (and away) about two blocks before reaching the educational facility. But I figured that this would not be a problem, because Ricki often walks to school, and knows the way. Of course, I mentioned to her that the bus does not pass her school, and that she must get off the stop after me. I even reiterated it as I exited the bus.
Later in the day I picked Ricki up in order to take her to her exercise class, and discovered that she had a brand-new cute-as-can-be umbrella. When quizzing her was not productive, I started more intensive interrogations. And when she finally “spilled the beans” I was in for a shock. Apparently she had not gotten off the bus when she should have, and finding herself in unfamiliar territory, had stuck with the bus until the final stop. There the bus drivers took matters in hand, and they took her on a line that passes the school. The umbrella was taken somewhere along the way. [I will add in her that Israel is NOT America, and that even though there is always a chance of evil people being around, we DO live in an almost crime-free area….]
This type of scenario is what prompts parents to NOT let their children be independent. Our fears are great. But, again, at some point the teen or young adult MUST be taught to manage on their own. So I do not see this incident as an indicator that Ricki must be supervised every second, but a pointer as to what area of “the material she needs to know to ride a bus” was not clear enough to her. Although she is fully aware that not every bus takes her to her exercise class, she still needs to internalize better the idea of differing bus routes, and of taking at times a bus that passes further away from your destination than the one you usually take (because the usual one is not available).
Do not think that I am not fearful. I am. But that same fear powers me to look at the need for long-range education for safety, and not just the temporary convenience of keeping her under lock and key.