Saturday, October 8, 2011

What Went Right, and What Hasn't

Take a good look at this picture from 1974; close to 40 years ago.

Back when most of us were kids. Or young teens.

Two things that stand out to me. One is how tall this thing is.

The other is that the playground surface is blacktop.

Remember those days? Running, Playing, Climbing Swinging, FALLING on the blacktop playground?

We did it everyday. For hours. I'm sure kids got hurt. Skinned knees and elbows; maybe even a broken arm once in a while. It was how we learned our capabilities, and our limitations.

Can you imagine erecting a public playground like today? First it would cost an arm and a leg to manufacture and install. If you could get zoning approval. And I don't even want to think about the legal fees.

But by God it was fun and exciting. Part of the fun was the risk. Part of the learning was the pain. Play was always about learning about how to deal with situations that came up in daily life. Working through differences of opinion, gracious winning and how it felt to lose.

You learned these things when you were 5 and 6. You learned about yourself; where your talents were. And where they weren't. You learned who could be trusted to keep a bargain, and who couldn't. In those days you expected to stay within a few miles of where you grew up, and expected to be dealing with these same folks for the rest of your life. Everything I know about life I learned in kindergarten, right?

What are playgrounds like today? Everything is padded. Including the ground. Slides are enclosed, so you can't fall off and absolutely nothing to climb on that would put you more than a few feet off the ground.

And the helicopter parents; standing by to dust off butts and kiss any 'boo-boos' that the little darlin's might feel they got by falling 6 inches onto a rubber pad. And those are the 10 year-olds.

What kind of adults does this produce?

Three words:

'Occupy Wall Street'.

All I can hear when I hear an interview with one of those...... individuals is this:

"WAHHH! Mommy, life's not being FAIR!!!"

Sorry 'bout your luck kid. I found out life wasn't fair when I was 6, not 26.

By falling on a blacktop playground.

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