Never Say Never

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(Let my kid cruise around NYC solo? Fahgettaboudit!)

This weekend I had the chance to see the mega-hyped movie: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Without spoiling it for you, I will say: Yes, you’ll go through a lot of Kleenex watching the movie. Yes, young Thomas Horn’s big screen debut is phenomenal, and yes, it will make you want to hug your kid when you get home.

While the tearjerker starts out slow and somewhat convoluted, the ending more than makes up for any of the earlier scenes that tend to drag a bit. What’s more, the last 10 minutes of the film answer the question most moviegoers with children ponder while watching the flick unfold: What kind of mother allows her 11-year-old kid to wander around New York City’s five boroughs all by himself post 9/11?

Sure, the movie is about self-discovery and a young boy’s journey to heal following his father’s tragic death, but c’mon, the kid’s barely in junior high and you’re letting him roam around one of the most densely populated cities in the world on the heels of one of the most horrific events our nation has ever experienced? Seems a bit far-fetched, even for Hollywood. Well, maybe not for Hollywood.

Like I said; all is revealed in the end.

Still, if you are a parent, the movie will likely give you pause for thought regarding how much freedom you should give your child. I know it got me thinking. How much should you let go, how soon and under what circumstances.

I’ve never really bought into the whole free-range kid phenomenon. I’m raising a child not a chicken. Consequently, I tend to hover… and worry-—a lot.

Don’t get me wrong; I highly doubt Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close will reignite the war between helicopter parents and laid-back, free-range moms and dads. However, it may get you to reconsider how tightly you cling to your current parenting philosophy and techniques.

Would I allow my young daughter to meander around a major metropolitan area with nothing more than a tambourine, a cell phone and some Fig Newtons?

Heck no.

Are you crazy?

Then again, if there is anything I’ve learned about being a parent it’s learning to never say never.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.

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