Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Playground...revisited.

Ahhhh, the leaves are changing colors, big yellow monster's are swallowing small children into their bellies, taking them to a place where they will be tortured with books and learnin'. Now, that my children are back in school and life has started to situate itself in the way that it normally does after a typhoid, I would like to revisit and recycle this lovely blog post. It's one of easier times, innocence and the surprising nature of childhood behavior. Please enjoy...

The Playground

Once a month I go to my son's elementary school to help out with lunch-- there are no hairnets or rubber gloves on when I go. The parents help out, its something nice that our school does, the are parent involved and lets the kids know the parents care. It's kind of fun actually.

I don't do anything super great, get spoons and forks when they are needed. Say "Yes" when they ask to go to the bathroom, open up packages or milk if it's warranted.

But as I walk around the lunchroom, the murmurs of children combine together in a cacophonous tone which reverberates off of the walls and I find myself not bothered, instead I tune out the pandemonium and watch.

Children have the most interesting way of doing things. Their minds work in wondrous ways. They allow curiosity of the unknown drive them, not caring about the world around them. If they want to mix chocolate milk and ranch dressing together, eat it (or drink it) they do. They get so excited and proud of the mystery fluid they concocted, they feel the need to tell someone about it. OR if they can't eat the apple their mother packed for them, because their teeth are missing, they figure out another way... using a spoon no less.

Not sure many adults would think of something so far away from the norm. They would, most likely, find a knife and cut the apple in several pieces. It is more practical that way. But kids don't care about practicality, they set their sights and won't worry about the obstacles... they just do.

As we move out to the playground my fascination grows. Watching the girls run as fast as they can, remembering the feeling of the wind whipping through my hair and just how freeing it really felt. Never losing my breath afterward, I would just pick up and start running again. Not bothering with the people surrounding me, not worrying if they were watching me or not. I just ran because it felt good and I liked it.

Kids pick up all sorts of things outside. Amazing things that, to them, are treasures. I have seen them bring small trophies up to the TA with so much excitement they are practically shaking, only to show a sunflower seed someone must have dropped while eating a snack. It doesn't matter, they won't think about where it came from, instead they will place it in their pocket and keep it as a trinket for a short while.

Now that spring is here and the ground is no longer wet, the kids play this marvelous game. I was told it was a twist on dodgeball, because instead of throwing it, you kick the ball. If the other team catches it then the kicker is out.

But these kids changed the rules.

They play differently, they separate into grades, there is no picking... no one is chosen last. One grade on one team, the other grade on the other team. They kick the ball and catch it, and kick it again. No one wins, no one loses, no one scrutinizes, a never ending game of fun.

I'm told that they changed the rules of their own accord, they didn't want anyone's feelings to get hurt and this was their decision. I've been told that teachers and the principal even have tried getting them to play different games ie. football, basketball, soccer. But they always go back to this game... it is incredible really.

I think we forget, when we grow up just how good it feels to not have any worries, to be carefree, yes... not everything is hunky dory for kids. But do you remember what it was like to peddle your bike so fast up the hill that you thought your legs were going to fall off, just to see if you really could jump it at the top? Do you remember how it felt if you did get off the ground, even if it was just a hair? It felt like you were flying...

When does the innocence go away? Why does the outside world effect us so much? Is life really so stressful that we can't just let go and feel the breeze in our hair again? What are we afraid of?


Aaron Polson said...

Ye Gods, monsters are swallowing children?!?

I don't know when the innocence goes away, but by the time I have them as students (11th grade--16-17 years old), innocence is long gone.

Lovely, though-provoking post.

K.Hinny said...

Thanks Aaron! I hope you're doing well!

Yes, the monsters... haven't I ever mentioned I lived near a dungeon? :D

Lee Thompson said...

Sweet post, lady. Very touching. And I agree that embracing the innocence and simpleness we once had as children is a big part of being happy. There is wonder and beauty and love all around us. Those things aren't the problem. We are. I think we train ourselves out of the magic by letting the wrong thoughts play out in our heads for too many years. I don't want anyone strangling the little boy living inside me. He is happy and wide-eyed.

Laurie said...

Great post, Kara! Thanks for reposting it.

I've found driving as fast as one can with all the windows down sometimes gives a taste of that long lost freedom and fantasy of flying without being reminded we're not 8 years old any more.

Of course, one has to time this just right. Kids reading in the back seat, rush hour traffic, a back seat full of groceries... Yeah, I've found these are not quite the best times for flying...