Just on occasion I wonder if chickens have more freedom than kids these days – and here I mean kids of the human variety, not baby goats.

I decided to look up the definition of “free range”:

Free range denotes a method of farming husbandry where the animals, for at least part of the day, can roam freely outdoors, rather than being confined in an enclosure for 24 hours each day.[1] On many farms, the outdoors ranging area is fenced, thereby technically making this an enclosure, however, free range systems usually offer the opportunity for extensive locomotion and sunlight prevented by indoor housing systems. Free range may apply to meat, eggs or dairy farming // In ranching, free-range livestock are permitted to roam without being fenced in, as opposed to fenced-in pastures. In many of the agriculture-based economies, free-range livestock are quite common

 (From Wikipedia)

Is it possible for children to enjoy the freedoms and initiations of  childhood if their every move is watched and their every hour is programmed?

I think many children DO suffer from sunlight deprivation (and the minute the sun DOES come out parents are supposed to run after them with 50+ factor sun cream at hand). Not all children get “extensive locomotion” either. They often spend too many hours in darkened rooms gazing at screens (computer screens, i-pad screens, mobile phone screens). When children visit us often their first question is: “what is the access code for your wi fi?” After that their parents might coerce them into saying: “Hello, how are you?!

So children certainly suffer from exposure to “indoor housing systems”…

They are generally not granted ‘roaming privileges’ and can certainly not be classified as “free range life stock”.

I have been reading some stories recently (from the USA) about parents being arrested because they let their children walk home from school or the park by themselves. It seems a little strange to me that this becomes a police matter while so many murders go unsolved and other serious crimes go unreported. But that as an aside.

On reflection it seems that a lot of this is to do with FEAR:

Fear that our children will be harmed

Fear that we won’t know what our children are up to unless we monitor them at all times.

Fear of “Star Wars” breaking out the moment we do force our children off screens

But the big question is: if we parent from fear – we teach our children to live from fear. And this is a very tricky issue indeed. There is no doubt that there are real dangers in our world and that children need to learn how to keep themselves safe. Having said that, personally speaking I feel that this is better done by granting them ‘roaming privileges by increments’ rather than ‘locking them up in homes and hectic schedules’.

When our three children were babies I remember feeling overwhelmed in shops full of baby and toddler products: soft corners for tables, rubber tubes that stop doors from closing (those were handy though, I still have a few), socket plugs, disinfectant wipes, baby monitors…

The fact is of course that life has never been 100% safe. And that possibly ‘staying safe’ is a priority but not a ‘life goal’ in its own right.

It is funny how in the English language the word ‘chicken’ has become synonymous with fear.

In the ancient times, army officers observed sacred chicken before going to a battle. The sacred chickens were given grain and if they ate it, the battle commenced, if they didn’t, the armies withdrew from fight.  (David Salamon on a discussion board)

  And did you know this word:

 Alektorophobia is a specific phobia, the fear of chickens and other fowls such as roosters.[1] Alektorophobia may also include eggs and dead chickens (although typically does not include cooked chickens). Suggested rationales for this fear include a general fear of birds, past trauma related to an attack or aggressive behavior by chickens, and feelings triggered by the daily habits and behaviors of chickens.[2]

Our own children have swum with sharks in Central America, visited the Kuna Indians on the remote San Blas Islands just off the coast of Panama and played with monkeys on the beach in Honduras. Last summer they went “off grid” in Wales with colleague/family friend. For more details see the Time Travelers page on my website.

They are keener on”screen time” than I would like but I do hope we planted some seeds for a different way of life along the way….

Imelda Almqvist

 Life Force TV Interview about shamanism with Imelda Almqvist



Imelda Almqvist is a Dutch shamanic practitioner, teacher and painter based in London, UK