Saw an article linked from FB today about the Abernathy boys, a couple of young brothers who rode horses from their home in Oklahoma to New York City to see their hero, Teddy Roosevelt. Bud was 10, his little brother Temp was only 6. They traveled alone. It was the year 1910.
It's not as if they were orphans. Their father was John Abernathy, a US Marshal in western Oklahoma known to many, including Roosevelt himself, as "Catch-em-alive Abernathy" for the way he hunted wolves: by reaching into their den and pulling them out with his hand. The boys went with the blessing and provisions of their dad.
The article touches on the differences in society's attitudes between then and now toward what children can be allowed and expected to do. Well, between most of human history and now. Between a kind of risk-taking that loses some and toughens the rest, and the kind of hyperprotectiveness that may just shift the loss and the lessening to later.
Read the article here.