Last night, during my Estonian language course, we were discussing the differences in childhoods around the world. Here in Estonia, children are taught to be independent from a very young age. From the age of 7, most children are travelling to school by themselves on the city public transport system. In Estonia, it is also commonplace to see babies asleep in their prams outside a restaurant while their parents leisurely enjoy their meal inside. Things are vastly different in my country of birth, Australia. Most parents would never allow their young children to catch public transport alone and I suspect the sight of a a baby sleeping outside a restaurtant would evoke feelings of horror and panic in most passers-by.
Here, there is a sense of freedom, safety, trust and a lack of fear, which I find oh so refreshing.
Is Estonia a safer place than Australia? Is it something deeply ingrained in culture? Are parents simply more laid-back here? Is our fear in Australia rational or are we just raising cotton-wool kids?
Some difficult decisions to make when I eventually have children of my own.