Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Playground Ramblings

Today, I took the kids for a walk to the neighborhood park. I just really needed to get out of the house to clear my head of all these thoughts banging around in my head. I thought some fresh air would be helpful.

The kids enjoyed the park for the most part.

Although, they came away with some not so good memories and I came away with disappointment.

There seemed to be more children there now that school is out. It was very interesting to observe the other mothers and their children. All the dynamics that happen on a playground:

There were moms like myself that were right there with the children. Playing with them and keeping "an eye" on things.

There just happened to be a mom there, by mere coincidence that I had met last week and now saw her again today. When we first met she shared that she had two children, similar in age to my own children, 4 & 2. She said that she worked full time for the school district during the year and had a nanny watch her children during the day, after the kids came home from pre-school. Then in the evenings when she was "out", her husband would watch the kids. She also said that now that she is off from work she was going to try and give the kids a summer.

As I observed her with her children, I sensed that she was not comfortable with her role as mom. She didn't feel settled. She struggled with relating with her child. Instead of telling the child, "You need to come play over here where I can see you". It was "Do you want a drink of water?, Do you want some food? How are you doing? Are you playing okay? I can't see you over here?, etc. Of course the little boy knew what she was up to. He would just kind of ignore her or say "I wanna play with sand" and then sound annoyed by the constant questions. This momma was trying, but it was so evident that she was "faking it - to make it". It was painful to watch.

Then there were the moms who were lying out the blankets on the lawn with a book and barely lifted their eyes from what they were doing. Maybe they were not worried about the kids since it was a park. Or their children were older now. But I certainly couldn't read a book in this setting, as I hate to have to take my attention away when the story is really getting good.

I also observed the children:

There were quite a few exchanges that were just disconcerting to me. For one thing, what is wrong with teaching children to say hello to another child when they say hello to you? Or telling the children that when they bring toys to the playground that they may have to share with other kids. That it isn't kind to laugh, tease or call other children names. That they should not be rude. That it is good to help younger children and play with them. That it doesn't have to be about who can outbeat the other person.

I also wondered why it is such a "taboo" thing to do, to actually correct another person's child. I am talking about a reasonable correction. Like if they are spitting on someone else or pushing another child down. That you are giving the child a loving correction that has their best interest in mind. Why do us parents have to take offense when someone does correct our child? Do we really think that our child could never do wrong? (I really didn't correct any other person's child today - although they sure needed it.)

I know that not all playground experiences are like this, because I have been with another certain playgroup and things have been different. The kids were having fun. The parents were standing off to the side talking with other moms, but ever so often glancing to locate a child. There were older children helping the other kids on toys that they hadn't yet mastered. There were kids that were letting others go before them. There were even those times when there was a scuffle and the moms came in and helped the kids work it out between them.

Do we teach our kids to be "tough" to withstand the "evils" of this world, or do we teach them to be like "Jesus"?

1 comment:

Leah Kadwell said...

Thanks for this one, Lisa! Excellent thoughts. I completely agree. Please come to India and we'll take our kids to the park here together :)