My wife travelled to her home town for a family function, last weekend. And given the nature of the function and speed of the trip, we agreed that both boys would be left home with me. I was fine with this, obviously, as it would allow me some “guy time” with both my sons and allow my wife to fully experience and enjoy the function she was attending without worrying about our 2-year old youngest clinging to her and causing havoc.
It was a good weekend. We did the usual things that a father would do with his sons; ordered pizza, played outside and had a “camp-out” on the living room floor (although the 2-year old didn’t participate in that part). The weekend wasn’t without obstacles, as Nathan conveniently knocked over the lamp in his bedroom, causing a shower of shattered lightbulb glass to spray everywhere, including into some toys, which had to be cleaned and safetied afterwards. Kids, am I right?
Despite the perilous balance between fun and chaos, one outing that took place on Saturday evening stuck out and like most things in life, had me reflecting. I loaded the baby into his stroller, grabbed a clutch of water bottles and granola bars and walked the boys to a local park. Alexander hasn’t had much exposure to outside parks, what worth the pandemic having been in effect for almost as long as he’s been alive. This doesn’t stop him from taking full advantage of the opportunity, once he’s there.
As parents, we often complain about how children constantly need to be entertained. But at its core, that entertainment can be as simple as letting a child walk up some stairs and go down a slide. Over and over and over…. The insight I gained was when a handful of other children showed up to play. I recognized that the parents were much in the same state as I was. A sort of disconnected state of disinterest while closely watching the children.
What I immediately noticed is that all the children became entwined and started playing with each other. A soccer ball was involved, and everyone was laughing and playing and having a blast with each other. The lesson is that this happened organically, without any prompting from anyone. The children not only congregated together but learned each other’s names and accepted each other without any judgement, reservations or prejudices. It was a beautiful thing to see and I appreciated the fact that these children were able to see another person, not race, gender, political views or religion, and come together for the sheer pleasure of having fun.
As adults, we tend to lose this free perspective. Life, responsibility and adulthood, sprinkled with a generous dose of ideology and learned discriminatory lack of trust, makes it so that adults can’t connect without an in-depth back-and-forth of social protocol. And that’s a little sad. How much better of a place would the world be, if we all saw the world through the innocent lens of a group of children playing together? Food for thought…. ☯️