Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oh, the Downside of Independence

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.


Batya said...

You seem to take it well, guess because she was fine when you finally saw her. Israeli bus drivers are amazing. I'll blog about it linking this right now.

Cindy said...

Wow! Good for you mom! I would have been in a panic. I'm grateful the bus driver did take matters into his hands and was willing to go off his route to take her to the school. That definitely wouldn't happen in Seattle!

Does Ricki have a cell phone? Sometimes Beth and I will go to the mall, she goes her way and I go mine. But she calls me every half hour or so to ask where I am and I do the same with her.

We have a bus system here called DART. It is a smaller city bus that goes door to door for those who are physically handicapped and can;t make it to the bus stops and also for those who are mentally challenged and can't quite figure out the complicated bus schedule.

Dave Hingsburger said...

It's also important to remember that non-disabled kids make mistakes too! Especially when they are first trying something out. It's so good that you see this as 'much teach more' rather than 'never try again'. Thanks for telling me about it.