What are the most important lessons I learned from the playground?? The last playground I recall playing on myself was in elementary school. I have lots of memories from recess, but what did I learn?
The first time I got on a teeter-totter the other kid jumped off when I wasn’t ready. The teeter totter banged to the ground and the jarring slammed my chin into the metal handle I was holding in a death grip. My chin quickly covered with blood and my eyes filled with tears. That was the first and last time I ever got on a teeter-totter. Lesson number 1: steer clear of the teeter totter!
I loved to swing on the swings but got a little queasy the higher the swing soared. My friends and I used to put our legs through the swing beside the one we were on and allow ourselves to be pushed. Instead of feeling a thrill over soaring through the sky, I felt a wave of terror and screamed like a little girl. Lesson number 2: If the swing goes to high, drop your feet, and slow yourself down. To hell with those kids that tease you because you are a scaredy cat! Later in life when I took my kids to the park I witnessed this idiot kid who was swinging way too high. At the highest point, he jumped. He ended up black, blue, and bloody. Lesson number 3: Use your head. If the swings aren’t surrounded by something soft and instead have 2X4’s around the perimeter, don’t jump. Hello!!!! You could hit the wood and end up road kill. Take two for safety! Better yet, don’t jump at all!
Lesson number 4: The best games in the world are those that come from your own imagination. Much like my kids pretending they are at Hogwarts and Harry Potter cohorts, my friends and I used to pretend we were the characters from our favorite TV shows. Back in my day my friends and I would play “Little House on the Prairie” where yours truly was Laura, and “Pinky Tuscadero and the Pinkettes” where I was a Pinkette. Pinky Tuscadero was featured on the TV show “Happy Days” and we took great delight in singing to the trees that bordered the playground. Lesson number 5: trees make a great audience. They are incapable of throwing tomatoes or booing. Lesson number 6: You can be anyone you want to be in your imagination, if only until the whistle blows!
Another lesson that comes to mind is to wait your turn. Only one kid can generally go down the slide at once, and if used properly and safely only one kid can get on a swing. Finally, last but not least…avoid standing to close to the monkey bars because you might get kicked in the head. Seriously, my son learned this lesson the hard way. Unfortunately, it seems most lessons in life, especially on the playground, are learned that way until next time when I give you another glimpse into the life of a trucker’s wife.