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Monday, March 4, 2019

Monday Musings - Kids playing. On the Street!


Last week, I was out on the balcony hanging up some clothes (dryers are muy uncommon) when a strange noise caught my attention.

It was dusk, about 7 p.m. and holy crap, there were actual, real-life kids laughing and playing below in the community playground. It was such a nice sound to hear, and something I haven't heard for donkey's years. Searching the benches I couldn't tell (curse you, becoming-old eyes) if there was a parent present, but if there was, there weren't many. And yet, the kids were having a blast being kids, like a lot of us glass-wearing folks remember our childhood.

A couple of days later, I walked by the front of my apartment building and there were more of them, and like Gremlins they were! Boys and girls of +/- elementary age, hanging out and playing some sort of hide-and-seek game -- again with no visible adult supervision. Another smile hit me. I hadn't seen kids playing that in ages, and they were having a blast, so I watched for a few minutes from my vantage point about 50 feet above. I thought about yelling in my best Spanglish, "Se esta escondiendo theeerrrrreeeeee!!" but knew that wouldn't go down well with the hide-ee.

Yesterday, I worked near the town center, and three boys, with no bother or guilt, happily played football between facing apartment entrances. They used two sets of trees about 20 yards apart as goals, so it obviously wasn't the first game of the season. The lads played their game, interrupting (a lot) as people wandered onto and off the "pitch." Again, not one parent leaning on a tree or on their phone whilst "keeping an eye" on them.

And then I realized, no one specifically needed to watch them because the community was doing its own thing in its own way.

At my apartment building, I'm sure random people looked down at the kids playing and they did stay within the community grounds, which are abundantly huge. The soccer-playing boys were next to two cafes filled with people and they would get such a bollicking if they -- or the ball -- strayed too far.

My point is I love it over here, partially because of the "it takes a village" mentality that is so normal and built-in, so hooray for a country that lets its kids be kids and where family is still such a community thing.

(My boys are scheduled to come over in June-July for a month. They have nooooooo idea of the culture shock they're going to experience.)

Hee hee :)


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark - that's great ... and so good to know - I've just read an article about how Dutch kids are more 'sorted' than the Brit kids ... life is interesting - good luck with the change - and good to know your kids are coming over for a month ... it'll be so much fun - cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sad it's not safe for kids to do that many places here. Just wait until your boys join in one of those games.

Susan Kane said...

"Donkey's years"! Haven't heard that one often at all.

Oh to see such delight in children playing!!

CWMartin said...

That does sound great...

Lisa said...

I think I was lucky that my kids got to play period during summer breaks and on weekends. We did do activities, soccer, gymnastics, etc. but not a lot. We planned one week of summer camp and the rest of the summer they had to themselves. We wanted them to have unstructured time in their lives. I think that's missing nowadays for kids. When they aren't doing a planned activity, they're on a computer or a computer game most of the time. No wonder they don't develop skills for amusing themselves! Your "village" sounds so wonderful. I can't wait to see how your kids adjust, because they will! Language in sport is international!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

That's one of the things I love about my area. My kids used to run the neighborhood. They thought they owned every yard on the block. It was a blessing.

Jo said...

Kids at the school near us seem to have fun at break time. Especially now when they can build snowmen or throw snow balls. More and more schools are banning cell phones. Good thing too.

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