I am one of six offspring. When we were children our “plaything” was the outdoors. I considered my whole neighborhood my favorite toy. I believe that a child’s imagination must be active and nurtured. The great outdoors did that, I know, at least for me. We, the three oldest siblings, were constantly adorned with skinned knees, scrapes, scratches, muddy skin, bug bites, stained clothes…the works. We wore them proudly; they were the evidence of a day well spent, an epic adventure. Our parents were firm believers in their children being active instead of being couch potatoes. This is a belief I carry with me still, and will instill in my children as well.
My day was from sunrise to dusk. Sometimes after dinner, if I had succeeded in staving my parents off from making me shower a little bit longer, we would run outside and play in the dark. With such active children my mother was a regular at our local pediatrician’s office. Bumps and bruises are normal for children. It is sad to me that more children are taken to the doctor these days because they are too active for their parents to handle, then because they accidentally got hurt from playing Cowboys and Indians, or building a secret fort. They are hopped up on depressant medication instead of shown the opening and unlimited arms of nature.
I would hate going inside after a day of play. The only thing we wanted to do was play tag outside, or run around in the sprinklers, act out stories, ride our bikes, swim, climb trees, catch fireflies…you get the picture. Most kids these days don’t know what the game Red Rover is; instead they have iPad’s and are worried about Candy Crush or Facebook. I miss the days where I had no time to go by but by the rumblings in my stomach letting me know it was dinner time. I miss the feeling that my neighborhood was as big as my world needed to be. My backyard could be anything from a jungle to an ice tower depending on my mood. Kids these days will never know the exhilaration and freedom that can be found by stepping outside. I wouldn’t trade my childhood “plaything” for anything. I was opened up to the majesty and magic of God’s handiwork as a child…I thank my parents for giving me that gift.