Learning through Life

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Hampshire, United Kingdom
I love how our day-to-day life can teach us lessons to help us understand our past, challenge our today, and inspire our future. We can learn through experiences, situations, conversations, songs, books, nature ... the list is endless! Live with eyes ready to see, ears ready to hear and a heart ready to be touched.

Friday, 1 April 2011

The one with the game of tag

3:15pm on a Thursday afternoon can only mean one thing - school pick up. Yesterday, an incident happened on the way out of school that caused my thoughts to change from what I could cook for tea that evening - to something entirely different ...

As I walked back through the playground chatting casually with a few of the 'playground mums', children ran playfully, totally absorbed in a game of tag.  Shouts of 'you're it' and squeals of laughter filled the air as five or six children darted around, their royal blue jumpers colouring the small playground.  I half-heartedly listened to the 'grown-up' conversations, as I marveled at how the children see the short journey through the playground as an opportunity to run, play and have fun, and at the ease in which they seem to be able to join in with others without standing awkwardly around waiting for an invitation.

How I wish I felt comfortable enough to do these things now.   When did I stop running, skipping and squealing with laughter and begin to walk sensibly and quietly?  When did I cease looking for opportunities to have fun and start to look for ways to prove my maturity?  Why does growing up so often mean the same as growing boring?

I know that in 1 Corinthians 13:11 we are exhorted to put childish ways behind us, but does this really mean we need to stop having fun?  Surely this passage refers to maturing in our Christian walk, and not to life in general? 

Maybe, just maybe, it would do us all good to be 'childish' every now and again.  This does not mean we need to cast aside all our adult responsibilities, but to let the child in us run about aimlessly for a while in the sun, or sing a song whilst walking down the aisle, or giggle uncontrollably with friends over nothing.  I miss these times :(

And what about the ease in which young children join in with each other, and how strangers quickly become friends?  Another angle for reflection:  Do I behave like a child in this sense and invite new people into a group and encourage involvement as though I have known them for ages?  Or do I tend to keep them at a distance, discouraging full participation?  Am I prepared to remove the barriers in order to allow others to join in?  In theory, yes ... in practice ... I will try.

Back to the game of tag in the playground ...

Chasing, laughing, shouting, twisting and turning - and then - the fall.  My niece, in her attempt to outrun the tagger, tripped up and fell on her knees in the middle of the playground.  My heart went out to her, as not only did it look painful, but everyone had seen.  How embarrassing.

What did she do next?

She brushed off her knees, got back on her feet and continued with the game.
Wow.  Good for her.   She hadn't wallowed in self-pity or embarrassment.  She hadn't let the fall stop her from having fun.  She got up and carried on.

I reflected on this bravery, and realised how often as adults we allow little knocks or falls to have such a negative impact on our journey. We fall down and feel hurt or embarrassed, and instead of brushing our knees off, and getting back up, we stay down or limp away in shame - never to give it a go again.

Is this really the best way to live our lives?  It may feel like the easy option at the time, but how much will we begin to miss out on if this is our response? What opportunities for growth will pass us by if we simply give up when we take a fall?

Can I encourage you not to allow life's knock backs to stop you. Brush off your knees, learn from the fall,  apply a plaster if necessary and continue on with your journey.

Learn from the wisdom of Chumbawamba (Tubthumping 1997) .. 

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never going to keep me down
I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never going to keep me down   :)

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