A time to play

Written by: Ms. O

I have come to  time in my life…living enough of it…that I am qualified to say that I miss….the good old days. I truly believe that the youth of today are missing out on simple living. It all came to light to me this weekend as I took a group of youth on a mission trip.

I miss summer times full of no schedule…no demands on my time. We would leave the house in the morning…come home for lunch…back out again…and be back for dinner.

We would find ourselves at the playground….in the woods…the baseball field…running free in the neighborhood. Most nights we would be outside again…playing “ghost at midnight”…hide and seek…with no thoughts of heading home.

Mind you, there was not a lot to be inside for. The television programming in the summer was severely limited…three channels…and reruns since it was the “off time”…no video games…computer…etc. Outside was our entertainment.

My mom would, at times, drop us off at the pool…sometimes the mall…without having to worry about being abducted. It was safe…or at least it seemed that way. If we had enough money we would go to the movies…not too often…or simply walk to the store…yes WALK…to the store to buy penny candy.

Family entertainment most times involved a Sunday drive…a drive-in movie…maybe a trip to a small amusement park…stop for soft serve ice cream. It wasn’t plane trips to anyway….it was car rides….without DVD players…GASP…to entertain us.  We had to interact with each other….which meant getting along with my siblings…since we were all we had.

The crazy thing is….it did not kill us…I don’t even feel cheated. It is quite the opposite. I look back with longing…wondering how quickly times have changed.

Technology has changed our children. We are so busy trying to keep our kids happy that they miss out on the simple things…that truly made life great.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:”…

Ecclesiastes gives a list of different seasons in our lives…being born…dying…planting…uprooting…tearing down…rebuilding…etc. I think though for our youth…they skip way too much…trying to stay up with technology….and waste what I think truly brings joy.

I recently went on a mission trip with my mid high youth…and took along as leadership, my senior high youth. The church that we stayed at was amazing. The mid high youth and adults truly stepped it up….working within the community…leaving their mark. My high school students truly portrayed leadership in so many ways….and I remain in awe of the contradiction that these young people displayed against what society says of them.

But it was more than that….something I witnessed…that truly backed up what I have said. As I pulled into the parking lot of the church, the high school youth were out on the playground…the children’s playground. I saw teenagers on the swings…the merry go round that they actually had to PUSH to make it go. The reoccurring sound I heard was laughter….pure laughter…that did not come from a video game…or text message…or computer screen. It came from being outside…and enjoying the simple act of “playing.”

I am sure it would get old after awhile…like everything else….but for this snatch of time our youth enjoyed a piece of my own youth…something I enjoyed…and it was a shared joy that transcended the years. There is a time for everything…and that includes playing.

I wish I had swing set to play on….amen…Ms. O.