Life Lessons Learned on the Playground

What important lessons did you learn in childhood that you still carry with you today? The donation, construction and dedication of a new playground at the Zimmer Home, thanks to the generosity of Independent Order of Odd Fellows Columbia Lodge #207, reminded us of how a playground can teach important life lessons to our kids:

  • One at a time. Whether it’s getting on a swing or going down the slide – we’ve all heard the reprimand, “Only one at a time, kids!” It’s a lesson in moderation and patience that most of us didn’t fully grasp until years later.
    Ephesians 4:2,
    Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.”
  • Life isn’t fair. Oh, the disillusioned complaints that pour forth from small, pouting children at play… “She did it, why can’t I? That’s not fair!” Sometimes, as adults, we’re no different. “How can the neighbors afford that brand new car?” “How can she eat whatever she wants and stay skinny, yet I simply look at a pizza and gain ten pounds?!” Because life has never been, and will never be fair, especially when we start focusing on what others have.  
    II Corinthians 10:12,
    “…But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
  • Wait your turn. Even though there may be five swings, there will undoubtedly be six children wanting to swing. Such is life. Hurry up. And. WAIT. Whether you’re waiting for that promotion at work, or waiting your turn at the Keurig® – a large portion of life will be spent waiting. We may as well get used to it!
    Lamentations 3:25-27,
    The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, so it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for Him to save us—and it is best to learn this patience in our youth.”
  • Never hesitate to make a new friend. “How old are you?” “I like your dog – what’s his name?” Children tend to engage with others, whether they know them or not, while playing on a playground. 30 minutes later they walk away, excited to have made a new friend…who they may never see again. We would benefit by remembering that lesson. Ask questions. Express interest in those around you. Friends don’t have to be life-long, but they can make each moment of life richer.
    Ecclesiastes 4:9-10,
    Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
  • What goes up, must come down. Every child on a playground learns this the hard way. Most of the time, they hop back up, brush themselves off, and run off to experience the next adventure. Adulthood changes the method to our madness, but not the ups and downs. We have those exciting victories that make us feel like we’re on top of the world, yet within moments we can fall on our caboose. With faith and the embracing of life’s highs and lows, we can know it’ll be okay. We may have some scrapes and bruises to show for it, but if we can laugh at and learn from our mistakes, then run with faith onto the next experience – life will be better for it.
    Psalm 30:4-5,
    “Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.