Playground Talk (#5)

Guys. I just spent the past 10 hours hanging out with a five year old and it’s official, I’m convinced. Little humans are the best humans. Yes, they can be annoying and loud and sticky sometimes, but they are so much better at being humans than we are.

Example: at the playground at Linvilla there is a castle with a ladder going up one side and a pole to slide down on the other. Those are your only two options, which means that I probably never played on that apparatus as a child. So this little boy, who was like maybe 3-years-old climbs up the ladder and is on the top and then realizes that he can’t get back down. Next thing you know all the other bigger kids playing in this castle rally together to coach him back down the ladder. This one boy who was probably 7 stayed there for a solid twenty minutes, even as his cousins were begging him to come to the maze, just helping this random little kid conquer his fears and get down this ladder. Eventually once the kid started crying I realized that I was supposed be an adult in the situation so I just lifted the little kid down, but that’s my point! I was so surprised by the natural instincts of the other kids to help, that as a fully rational adult it didn’t even occur to me to step in for a long time. Now, that could also be a comment on my lack of a maternal instinct, but that’s beside the point.

Later on, I watched as my 5-year old best friend Savannah made enough friends in the span of 5 minutes to fill up an entire school bus. Next thing you know, she’s leading all the other kids in a pretty convincing episode of the Magic School Bus, complete with songs, pit stops, snack breaks, and then dropped them all off at their “houses.” What the hell? As an active member of the generation who would rather spend the few minutes before class starts wrapped in my phone, this blew my mind. We’ve become so anti-social as a society I think that whenever someone tries to make small talk with me in line at Starbucks, I immediately get suspicious and flashback to the Bad Stranger assemblies we had in grade school. Even today at the park, when the other moms and I were all laughing at the Savannah’s antics, I still found it almost painfully hard to make chit chat with them. Aren’t human beings social animals? Shouldn’t this nonsense be biological?!

The point of this rant is that today I spent two hours in a park and learned more about being a decent human from a bunch of kids under ten than I have from the hundreds of adults I’ve interacted with this past year. Help people in need, even when there’s something else you’d rather be doing. Be friendly, smile, and introduce yourself. If you have a snack, share it with someone who doesn’t. And, most importantly, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, because chances are the person next to you is just as willing to pretend to be a butterfly as you are.

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