This used to be my playground

I always knew the playground had a lot of lessons to teach.


As a mother supervising the children play, I noticed how kids learn early how to negotiate. One of the boys, let’s say A wanted a particular car or toy that didn’t belong to him but wanted to play with it. So another boy say B boy tried to convince the other boy C to give it up. As I was watching, my son looked at me with puppy eyes and I knew he wanted me to get the car in question. I decided to ignore him and moved a little away, but kept a check on the group through the corner of my eye lest they start pulling each others’ hair out. In a matter of minutes, a deal was struck by one of the older boys. The cars were exchanged and the world was happy again. My son had just learnt to bargain and now does it for others as well, without using force.


When my son started school, for the first 15 days he cried his eyes out. The teacher let him stand wherever he wanted in the classroom and do whatever he wanted but the first fortnight was tough for him and me. I used to stand near the window of the classroom and I could hear him cry. For the first 15 minutes, he would cry his heart out but after that there would be silence. This is how he was learning to cope. He was learning how to control his emotions. When we have our hearts broken, don’t we do the same? We cry as if there were no tomorrow and then suddenly when all the emotion are spent, we learn to cope with the heart ache.


The swing on the playground teaches us that life has its ups and downs; soon the joyride will end and the next person in line will be able to fly off on it. It teaches you patience and to enjoy the ride while it lasts.


The slide on the playground teaches us that you can take your time in getting up and feel on top of the world once you reach the peak, but the slide back down is fast and dangerous if you don’t know how to control yourself. Similar to what happens in our careers, where we struggle to reach new heights and once there, we rush and may have to come back down faster.


As caregivers we generally tend to hover around our little ones. But after a certain age I think we parents need to know when to step back. Nature has its own way of teaching. Let them fall, dust themselves off and be back up again on their own. The world may not be kind always but at least they know how to deal with it. Didn’t you as well?


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