Wolf in the Mirror: Recovery and Redemption

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid for Wolf Awareness Week

For me, wolves are easy to love, and hard not to cry about. For starters, they are beautiful animals—strong, smart, fast, muscular, lean, furry, and at times they smile. As a friend (and fellow pack member) of dogs, I feel a natural affinity with wolves too. Dogs are, after all, the likely descendants of wolves who became friendly with humans, to our mutual benefit (you toss me a bone, and I’ll guard the cave). But besides their aesthetic appeal and doggish familiarity, they reflect what I like best in me, and what I and the rest of my human clan exiled from our nature a long time ago—our free, clear, and purposeful animal selves. Continue reading

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Trust Your Kids: Raise Them Cage-Free!

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid

Parents are a jumpy bunch these days. Even before I had my daughter I was troubled by the prevailing attitude among parents that the world has become a place too dangerous to let kids be kids anymore. Popular opinion seems to be that it is now too risky to let children do time-tested things like play outside unsupervised, climb a tree, explore on a bike, or walk to school alone, all things my friends and I enjoyed as kids. Once I became a mother I began to witness first-hand the stifling paranoia among other parents about their kids’ safety and to see the effect it was having on kids. Not surprisingly a new major study by Play England, part of the National Children’s Bureau of Great Britain, found that half of all kids no longer climb trees and 17 percent have been instructed by their parents not to play tag or chase. Although 70 percent of adults reported having had their biggest childhood adventures outside in natural settings, only 29 percent of children have such opportunities today. Depressingly, most children reported having their biggest adventures in playgrounds. Continue reading