Before I begin this tale, I would like to issue a disclaimer:
The hubby and I do not subscribe to the helicopter parent method of raising children but prefer to embrace the Free-Range way of thinking. While we have spent countless hours talking to our boy about "stranger danger" and staying safe, our focus has been to teach the boy to use common sense and be independent. The fact that we live in a town that is often referred to as Mayberry doesn't hurt either.
I am proud to say that our eleven-year-old son is allowed to go to our neighborhood creek by himself and spend hours exploring. He rides his bike to and from his friend's houses, sometimes after dark, (GASP!) and speeds down the winding trails that run along the near-by river. For the record, he always wears a helmet.
The boy has dozens of pocket knives and can nail a target with his BB, Airsoft and pellet guns. He climbs trees like a monkey, preferring to perch in the upper branches. He is hot-natured so the hubby and I let him go outside without a coat during the winter months. We figure he'll put something warmer on if he really needs it and besides, getting a little chilly never killed anyone.
He's been doing these things for years.
We also allow our boy and his friends to go Ding-Dong Ditching. You non-southerners might know this timeless prank as Ring and Run. The boy knows which houses are approved (people we know who also happen to be parents of tweens and teens) and has agreed not to target the same house over and over again. The hubby and I view it as good-natured fun.
And now for our story:
The boy was hanging out with a friend that lives in the neighborhood directly behind ours last night. Since it wasn't a school night (teacher conferences are today), we agreed to let him stay out late. Around eight o'clock, the boy's decided to go Ding-Dong Ditching. While always fun, they tired of it quickly and walked over to another friend's house to see if he wanted to run around. Unfortunately, the boy, who happens to live at the entrance of the neighborhood, was grounded.
Looking for something to do, the boy's decided to climb on top of the big brick sign sporting the neighborhood's name. Being the silly boys that they are, they started dancing and waving at all the cars that drove by. It was dark outside, and as cars neared the stop sign at the corner, they would notice the boys and honk their approval. This only served to egg the two goofballs on.
I would give anything to see footage of my boy doing The Sprinkler and shaking his booty while perched on top of that sign.
After about thirty minutes of dancing, a car stopped and a man toting a flashlight stepped out. The boy's quickly realized that it was a sheriff's deputy in an unmarked car. He had noticed the boy's performance and wanted to know what they were doing out so late, after dark, and without adult supervision.
The boy's friend was scared and started talking really fast. My boy, on the other hand, wasn't the least bit nervous. He respectfully answered the officer's many questions and agreed to head home for the night. As luck would have it, the friend's seventeen-year-old sister happened to be driving by and agreed to take the boys home.
The hubby and I got to hear all about the night's events when the boy arrived home a few minutes later. He even gave a private viewing of his killer dance moves which caused us to erupt in a fit of laughter.
After listening to his story, the hubby and I assured the boy that he wasn't in trouble. We praised him for being respectful to the officer and keeping his composure. He hadn't done anything wrong, other than being an offense to real dancers everywhere, and the officer was just doing his job. That was the end of it.
The hubby and I hope that this will be the boy's first and only incident involving the law. He's a great kid, so I don't think we anything to worry about.