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Friday, March 24, 2017

Playground Rules from Grade School

Posted Saturday, February 26, 2011, at 12:05 AM

In grade school, a small group of kids ruled the playground. They made the rules for all of the games and dictated the use of the merry-go-round, swings and teeter-totters.

It was tyranny in all its ugly glory. As adults, we have realized that life isn't always fair and that the bullies and "enforcers" will try to dominate our lives if we allow them to do so.

We find ourselves back on the playground in the world today. While the names of the childhood games are different, the outcome is the same as our grade school years.

Politics is like the game, Red-Rover. We send what we think is the strongest player from our team to the other side to break the hold of the opposing team. Our choices on either side determine the overall outcome of the game. If you could break the chain of hands, it was your option to bring a person back to your line. But if you did not succeed, you had to stay on the opposite line.

So who won at that game? One line of thinking would be that several people on one team were able to break the line and bring people back to their side thus creating a majority and winning the game by sheer numbers.

However, I would like you to think about the two or three people left on the opposing team. They may be small in numbers, but they withstood the repeated assaults from the other team. They were able to hold the line under some very painful and stressful circumstances.

And what about the people who had to leave their original team and play on the opposite side? They didn't go voluntarily, but they followed the rules of the game.

Today, we find ourselves in this continual season of playground rules. In order to ride the merry-go-round, someone has to push. Or you might find yourself permanently up in the air on the teeter-totter because your partner on the opposite side is heavier and wants to torment you. If you are lucky, they will eventually stand up and let you down gently. However, it has been my experience that they can also choose to abandon their seat without warning thus making your own landing tail-bone jarring to say the least.

The most distressing thing on the playground has to be when one elite group decides that an individual or individuals is not worthy of the very air that they breathe. I can remember with shame, the times that I participated in tormenting someone who was different. I found myself on the receiving end of that torment also.

Without pointing fingers and establishing blame, we must somehow find a balance that everyone can live with.

Someone will always have to push the merry-go-round so that people can ride. Simple physics on the teeter-totter can change the balance of power by having a friend sit on your side of the board. The game Red-Rover will always require strength and strategy.

One thing that will never change on the playground will be the few who break the rules of the social contract by tormenting those of us who just want to enjoy a moment of care-free play at recess.

We as adults have forgotten the simple rules in grade school. This year, my grand daughter KaeLynn has been giving me a refresher course; Wait your turn, Keep your hands to yourself, Choose your words, Walk, don't run, Look both ways crossing the street and my teacher is in charge.

"CHOOSE YOUR WORDS". We can either wound or heal with our conversations. The playground does not have to be a nightmare, it can be a pleasant place to play and make friends.

Showing comments in chronological order
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In today's world I see more people on that merry go round and not so many people pushing it.

-- Posted by skeeter on Sat, Feb 26, 2011, at 7:15 AM

me too.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Sat, Feb 26, 2011, at 11:16 AM

Everyone wants a free ride on the Merry Go Round. And when you ask someone to "try" ...they can't do it. I see it all the time. Physical effort is practically non existent.

I teach riding lessons, and each kid has to brush their horse and help to saddle. Kids of ALL ages have what appears to be NO STRENGTH. Why is that? Do Mommy and Daddy DO everything for them? WHY can't they brush a horse ...and see that they haven't got the mud off? Why can't they pull hard on the leather to unbuckle it? I help, and they just aren't putting any of themselves into it. What happened to elbow grease? Well, those kids have it now, or they don't ride. (the Horse kind of Merry Go Round)

They carry saddles, if they have to drag them...which I grumble about.

ahhh...I could go on.....

Good story Bonnie!

-- Posted by jessiemiller on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 9:55 AM

We had to do all that too growing up. We had help sometimes with putting the saddle on the horse due to height differences, but all the rest was expected.

there was a group of kids who made all of others push the merry-go-round so some of us experienced first hand having to do all the work and not getting the benefit of play.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 10:30 AM

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Walking the Fence Line
Bonnie Bird
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Fixing fence is the one of the hardest jobs on a ranch. I no longer live on a ranch, but I do know what hard work is. Fences are everyone's concern, but nowadays,the "hole" is always your neighbor's side not your own. It used to be that you would respect your neighbor and mend the fence together. If their cows got in your field, a simple phone call resolved the problem. You might even saddle up your own horse and help them gather them up. We need more people who are willing to roll their sleeves up and fix the fence regardless of who your neighbor is. There are people in this country who need to be reminded that a fence is like the way you should conduct your life. Your posts should be straight and neat. The wire needs to be stretched tight and your gate might be closed, but can still be easily opened. And most of all, we can all saddle up together and ride the range, it won't matter if you have an Appaloosa, Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred. The cows still have to be gathered, fences have to be fixed, and the range is a wide open space of opportunity for us all.
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