We’ve all heard the “everything I need to know I learned in _______ ” sayings. I’ve never actually read any of them but today I was thinking… while I didn’t learn everything I need to know on the playground… I sure learned a lot. Here are a few of the things I thought of.
You know. That big metal stand alone slide. The one that felt 20 ft high and was the shiniest thing on the playground. The lesson here was sometimes the easiest things cause the greatest pain. Climbing the stairs was the hard part. Sliding down the slide was the fun and easy part.. but after baking in the sun all day, the slide would burn what little hair you had on your legs off! So some days it was smart to skip the slide and go for the monkey bars.
The Monkey Bars
We all had those classmates who could fly across the monkey bars… who did tricks on the monkey bars… and the friends who were terrified of them. I liked the monkey bars… and they taught me something valuable. No matter how high they felt (stories high!) There was no way to move forward without letting go of the bar you were currently on. Sometimes hanging around on a bar meant you didn’t make it to the end. Just as going to fast didn’t guarantee you’d make it to the end.
I loved to swing. I still love to swing. One thing I do not have that I REALLY want is a swing at my home. When I was a kid my grandparents had a wooden one on their front porch. We would sit and calming swing for hours. The park down the block from where I lived for a bit had a very large metal swing with a rubber seat and metal chain. I used to swing so high I felt like I could flip the bar. I loved that split second of weightlessness you feel when you reached the top. The swing taught me something though…. what goes up… must come down. The higher you would get, the faster you would fall. I also learned that friends can only take you so far… a really good friend can give you a big boost, but you have to use your own weight to reach the highest potential.
I rarely see these anymore but the seesaw was on of my favorite things on the playground. The thing about seesaws is you can’t do it alone. You had to have a friend. You had to trust someone and you needed to be trusted. If you had a reputation for causing your friends to go to high or not high enough, people learned not to play with you. And if you were stupid enough to get back on a seesaw with someone who had just caused you to fall, it was your fault.
Trust no one. If someone does take a shot at you, surprise them by catching the ball and turning the tables on them!
When things start spinning too fast.. hold on.. you may get dizzy, you may even feel like you are going to throw up… just hold on… eventually the ride will stop… eventually things will level out… eventually it will all slow down.
You also learn about people… some kids (now adults) are never happy…. they are just assholes. Some kids will stop playing with you and go play with someone else in a heartbeat… and then move on to someone else…. they are the users.. the ones who get what they want for the moment and move on… those people never change. Then there are the good guys (and girls) that are always fun, are always willing to play, & never throw the dodgeball too hard. Oh.. and that one guy that thinks he is so good and everyone else is flawed… the guy who talks about everyone and no one really likes.. though he doesn’t really know that… none the less he always runs his mouth about people, thinking no one can see through him, though everyone does.
So yeah, I learned a lot about life on the playground.. even if I didn’t learn all of the lessons, I at least acknowledge they were there.