It's okay to fall down
Given that this was the first time she had actually managed to swing across eight bars, it was but inevitable that she would lose her grip midway at some point. And fall she did, straight on to the sandy playground below. Her face twisted in pain and she tried to smile bravely through it as I went to help her stand up again. Gently, I asked her if she was all right and if she wanted to continue playing.
Eyes glistening with tears, she gulped and said, 'I just need a few minutes. I will be fine.' True to her word, she took a short break and was back on the bars, swinging and laughing.
After a couple of tries, she ran around the playground to show me that the pain had been temporary.
Making friends is easy if you know what to say
Gy had never visited this particular playground before, so she actually knew nobody there. Within 15 minutes though, she had managed to befriend the other girl who was swinging nimbly across the bars. I was sitting on a park bench some distance away when she came running to me, excitement in her voice. 'Amma, Amma, I made a friend! There she is! A is her name!'
Pleased at her joy, I replied, 'That's lovely. What did you say to befriend her?' With amusement, she said, 'I just said, "Hello, my name is Gy. What's your name?" Then , she was off, running back to her new-found friend. In that second, I realised children have a simple and direct way of dealing with things, while we as adults, manage to complicate even the simplest task of saying 'Hello.'
Making up with friends is even easier
Children and their fights on the playground are the stuff of legends. You know it and I have seen it at work. But what has always struck me is the speed at which children forgive each other. Within five minutes of making a new friend, Gy came to me with a morose expression, saying that A had fought with her. I sat there, silently and waited for her to figure out the solution. She sat by me and brooded for a few minutes and suddenly got up, ran back to A and said, 'I am sorry. Shall we play again?' And that was that. They were back to laughing and swinging side by side again.
As the sun gently set on the horizon, shedding its pinkish-orange hues on the playground before me, lighting up the faces of carefree kids, I wondered, isn't that what Life is all about? Of trying, of falling, of getting our hands dirty, of making friends and making up with them. Yet, we seem content to complicate these things way out of proportion.
I may not have all the answers to parenting nor may I have the exact thing to say when Gy asks me a question. But, I know, that these five lessons on the playground will stand us all in good stead when we are facing the playground of Life.