Growing up, especially before electronics invaded our space, we played in the whole wonderful summer before us. Some kids go to camps. While others stay home doing what? We played with siblings, neighbor friends, on playgrounds, or wherever we could find open space for a game. Or we might play on a porch (especially in the rain) or in the street in front of someone’s house. Sometimes new kids joined in whom we did not know. But all were welcomed until something would happen that made the game come apart. We played games—board, baseball, kick ball, dodge ball, or whatever game someone mentioned and all agreed to play. Why is this reflection important to recall? Because all of these activities were generally run, organized, and participated in by children. We learned so many things about each other. We learned about how to cooperate and how to lead and follow. We learned about a bully, who always wanted to be the boss–do things his/her way only. We learned about the quiet ones, who would be left out, if someone didn’t speak up and ask them to join. We learned the acceptable rules–agreed by the majority. And sometimes we had to make up a rule. But it had to be agreed upon before play. We learned how to play fair and honest. If we didn’t, we were called on it and then sometimes that person, who would not play fair, was shunned or asked to leave. This was a very hard lesson to learn. Different people brought whatever they might have to facilitate the game. And possession was honored. No one took another’s things. We learned how to win and how to lose. And we learned that the world did not end either way. We kept on going until lunch or dinner time which would momentarily interrupt play. We learned to be creative and come up with ideas that others would agree to. And we learned to accept another’s ideas, when we would have preferred our own. Kids and their families lived all around us, but no one even knew the meaning of ethnic or religious differences. To be honest, a person’s color was not a subject, because it did not happened very often. However, when we went to different playgrounds, it sometimes occurred and other than a momentary notice, nobody said or did anything about it. How well did you play was the starting point of play. And birthdays were in the backyards with ice cream, cake, other foods, water games, and whatever creative game could be invented. (This part really dates me!) Childhood was an experience that was overwhelmingly learned in all the events that one participated in by oneself or in various groups during the summer.
Do children still learn life’s lessons while they are children? Do they learn these lessons from experience or because an adult told them? Do we let children solve some of their own difficulties or do adults step in with the answer? Is the time spent today on electronic games as valuable? Are our children today missing anything important with all that is organized for them and as a result they don’t learn from self taught experiences? What is the good from organization? Are our children happy? Simple indulgent, carefree happiness? Is the dissatisfaction of the adults with our country finding its way into our children? Returning to school will bring schedules, homework, interaction problems, and a level of stress. How stress free was this summer for our children? And don’t they deserve it? And the question that we might all ponder is just what did we learn about life before we grew up? Do people still play fair? Do we? Can we win and lose with the same acceptance? Are we afraid to set a positive example? Is there anything that we can do for ourselves and our children to bring back simple happiness and controlled stress? Summer is almost over. Don’t waste the rest. Enjoy!!!!
By Kathy Reilly
Stewardship Questions: Kathy Reilly (781) 444-0862 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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