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It didn't seem to them like a criminal act. They just let their kids walk themselves home.

When a couple decided to take a chance and grant their kids a bit more freedom, the state's response was swift: “Bad parents."

Two parents keep getting in trouble for the amount of freedom they give their kids.

When Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, parents in Silver Spring, Maryland, first let their 10-year-old walk their 6-year-old home from a park, they got a warning from child protective services and were forced to sign an agreement not to leave the children unattended anymore. It was that or lose the kids, according to this video (also below) from The Washington Post.


The Meitivs are trying to teach their kids to be self-sufficient in a way they feel is right. The Meitivs are part of the Free-Range Kids movement, whose motto is "How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)."

The children were discovered again by themselves at a park in April 2015. This time, they were taken into protective custody, and the authorities wouldn't release them for over five hours.

The Meitivs were accused of neglect and warned that protective services would file charges and send the children into foster homes unless the parents made a legal commitment to a safety plan.

When is it OK for kids to go out on their own?

Maryland does have a state law that says children under 8 must be accompanied by a person of at least 13. It's on the books to protect young children who may otherwise lack proper adult supervision.

And a 10-year-old may seem young to be responsible for a 6-year-old. Maybe you agree with the Meitivs, maybe not. Still.

It's a hot topic right now for parents.

Are we doing the best thing for our kids by keeping such close tabs on them, or are we really holding them back due to our own paranoia about what could go wrong? Are we preventing them from learning to be independent just because we're terrified of the big, bad world? 24-hour media coverage of the bad things that happen is certainly scaring us out of our wits. It's called mean world syndrome.

Statistically, kids are safer now than they used to be.

According to the The Washington Post, there's never been a safer time to be a kid in America. The odds are really pretty good.

But it's not just about the odds. It's also about what's being risked.

In the end, the odds are meaningless if it's your child who comes to harm or worse. The unthinkables are why this topic is so charged and why parents are having such a hard time working out what to do about their children.

Opening the dialogue is critical.

Maybe the most important thing about the Meitivs' story after all is this: Because of it, so many more people are now aware of — and thinking about — this tricky, tricky issue that's right at the heart of how the next generation will live in this world. When they finally emerge from our careful protection, will it be as fearful, hesitant people or as life-embracing adults?

Here's the story of how the Meitivs' problem with Maryland began:

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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