The playground seems like the last place where you should be learning lessons, especially when the word itself implies that we are trying to get away from lessons as fast as possible. No, these lessons are not for my daughter. They are, instead, lessons she has taught me through her behaviour and her approach to simple situations amidst the swings, the sand, the monkey bars and the slides.
Take your time to try something new
Gy was at the park last week and eyed the monkey bars with longing. It is something that has always eluded her and she always shied away from trying it. Noticing this, I said, go ahead, give it a try. I promised her that I would stand and watch her. Gingerly, she climbed the ladder and tentatively tested the bars with one hand. Feeling enthused, she gripped it with both hands and swung away from the ladder. She stayed there for a few seconds and then dropped to the ground below. Her eyes shone as she turned and looked at me. I cheered, as was expected.
Spurred on, she climbed back up and did it three more times. The fourth time, she released one arm and lunged forward to grab the next bar in the sequence and wonder of wonders, she stayed on the bars! I was flabbergasted that she had managed to master it in the space of a few minutes and was inspired by her ‘Never-give-up’ attitude.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty
If you’re like me, you like your hands to stay clean. I don’t mean obsessively washing them with hand sanitiser at the sight of dirt, but staying clean. Gy revels in sand and loves the feel of it through her fingers. I like sand too. It’s easy to clean. Grime and dirt are another story, though. Once Gy had gotten the ‘hang’ of the swinging, she tried to move beyond the first two bars and couldn’t quite manage it. I stood by, chanting, ‘You can do it. Go on.’ Looking back I realise how utterly useless I was as a motivator.
A nimble little slip of a girl who was mastering the bars, helpfully told Gy that if she picked up some dirt and rubbed it between her palms, it would give her the grip needed for the swinging. Knowing my aversion for dirt, she looked at me and something changed inside me. I nodded and said she could do it. She scooped up handfuls of dirt and liberally dusted the sweat off her hands. Energised, she returned to the bars. Now, whether it was her zeal for the task or the dirt, I will never really know, but she managed the entire length of the bars in one stroke! Eyes dancing in happiness, she ran to my side and said, ‘Did you see? Did you see?’
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