Monday, June 21, 2010

CHILDREN AT PLAY


FAMILY


Good evening. Ya'll come on in out of the rain and have a cup of coffee for I am about to make a fresh pot. It's rainy and with the air conditioning it's cool enough to drink coffee. We are so glad to see the rain for we needed it to keep our grass alive for it was rather dry. Thank goodness we have a deep well so that we can water our yard and it not cost us an arm and a leg.

I read an article recently which set me to thinking about children and summertime. This was the "bestest" time of the year for us when we were growing up out in the country. We would ride bikes, play in the dirt under the house, climb trees, picnic down at the creek or just run and chase each other. We didn't have any close neighbors, one car which daddy drove to work, and mama didn't make "play dates" for us but we were busy as little bees from morning to night. Come to think of it, I don't think "play dates" had been invented at this time.

We also didn't have TV, gameboys, telephone, cell phones or any other electronic gadgets. We did have bikes, trikes, dolls, little cars and trucks, tea sets, playhouse behind the hedges, paperdolls, paper and crayons, dogs, unlimited space to roam and a mother who fixed picnic lunches for us. Days were not long enough to do all we wanted to do so after dark we caught fireflies and put them in quart jars and played in the dark. Grumbling would be fierce when mama and daddy made us come in and get ready for bed. Don't worry for mama always made us turn the fireflies out before we came in although we wanted to keep them and see if we could see by their light in the dark.

When night did come, what did we do without all the electronic stuff of today? I always had books I had checked out from the library and the boys had an erector set, Lincoln logs, little cars, and we played board games. We actually talked to each other and occasionally would make up plays and present them to our parents. It was not a huge problem for we would be so tired from playing hard all day we would go to sleep rather early so we would be ready to play the next day.

The article I read talked about how the children have disappeared. When you drive through the average residential neighborhood how many children do you see playing outside? Occasionally you can see one riding a bike, trike or scooter but not many. Where are they? Has the "Pied Piper taken them away?

I began to think about this and take note of this strange occurrence. Guess where they are - in the house or at daycare. They are sitting in front of TVs watching cartoons or worse, playing with their gameboys, x-boxes and so forth, eating junk food and vegetating. Some have to stay in the house and not answer the door for both parents are working or they just don't see the need to run and play outside. Many live in apartments and can't go outside to play unless a parent takes them to the playground or park. How sad.

Recently we visited kin folk in Texas and some of them have children. I was pleased that the parents limit TV and other electronic mind grabbers and the children play outside. They are taken to the park to have additional room and play equipment and each afternoon after supper several couples gather outside and the children play in the yards and the parents watch, supervise and talk. They practice softball, play chase, ride bikes and scooters and interact with each other and actually have conversations. Like us when it is time to go inside they are not "happy campers."

During the day when it is so hot they are still busy as little beavers. Morgan likes to teach and her little sister, Taylor, is her pupil. They use the computer to play educational games which teach language, math and hand and eye coordination. They write, play with their toys and sometimes help mama. Katelyn likes to sing and dance and play with the little kiddos.

Do they get bored and fight and fuss? Of course they do for they are siblings and you are supposed to fuss and fight but overall they are quite satisfied. We thought it was outstanding that they played outside, could carry on a conversation and didn't require an electronic device to entertain them.

Many of our children do not know how to play. My niece was telling me that some schools are hiring teachers to teach children how to play and interact with each other for they don't know how. Take away the "mind grabbers" and they are lost and cannot function. They don't know how to talk to each other, how to share or how to play with others. This is heart breaking to even think about and what kind of parents will they be? They are selfish and self-centered and think the whole world revolves around them. This is so sad.

So if you have children, take them outside for goodness sakes. Run with them, play with them, and talk with them. They have amazing ideas to teach us. Did you know they can tell you about the differences in butterflies and moths and how many legs each have? They know the best ice cream flavors and where the best parks are. They are just filled with valuable information we all need to know.

I like to sit and watch them play for you can see their little bodies soaking in the sun, splash in the water, run, jump, swing and chase the dog. I hope I never loose the joy of childhood for life will be very boring if I do. If you don't have any children in your life borrow one from the frazzled mother down the street who needs a break for she will surely appreciate it and you will gain a little friend(s) who you can enjoy. Have some fun.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach
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