Kids with STICKS and STONES

Today's kids are not allowed to play
with a stick in the backyard~~George Carlin

Amy Hollingsworth, author of Gifts of Passage and The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers, shared with us RCUers of a fabulous poem written by her 87-year-old uncle, Dr. Bob Christin, who taught English Literature at Notre Dame. It was written, inspired by something he heard George Carlin said.

Leagues are organized today
for boys and girls outside of
school to kick and hit and
catch balls using bases and
nets, baskets, goal lines,
under supervision of referees.
All wear bright uniforms with
insignia, use protective gear.

Schedules for moms and kids
include dance and music and
tae kwon do lessons. Kids
and moms lift schedules
heavy as corporate executives,
conflicts, changes penciled
in an oversized calendar.

For kids growing up,
something is missing here,
an essential hands off
even to let kids do nothing.
to leave them time to stare
out a window, to lie awake
at night to dream with no
agenda, to discover ways
to have fun minus the plans
and programs of teachers,
parents, and umpires.

When I was a kid before
we had a sandbox Grandpa
built, we played in backyard
dirt with trowels, sticks from
trees, stones from the alley.
We played cowboys in vacant
lots filled with wild flowers
and weeds, using tree limbs
for the sheriff's office, lots
all over for criminals to hide.
Without a real football we
wrapped wire around old
newspapers for a pretend
ball we could not kick but
did use for thrilling passes
one to another. We tackled,
no protective gear. For
basketball we cut out the
bottom of a bushel basket
nailed to a telephone pole,
tossed through it large rubber
balls. We enjoyed impromptu
fun, often sitting on the curb
to laugh at each other, to try
to figure out teachers and
parents, why we were all told
to sit straight, move slowly.
be quiet, and then told to
act our age, which we thought
we did well.

Remember this good ole Peanuts cartoon? Charlie Brown (or was it Linus) and Snoopy defied the Snowman-building League and built their own snowman without being part of the league and without grown-up supervision or intervention.


1 encouragements:

Makita said...

Wonderful poem! Reminds me of something I read in the paper recently....

A group of teenage boys in Conn cleared a vacant city lot of weeds, debris, etc. to build a Wiffle Ball field. They salvaged lumber/plywood from their parents and the discard bins of local businesses. Now, the neighbors of this lot are complaining about noise, traffic, whatever and are battling them in court because they didn't get the necessary permits, etc.


True learning-learning that is permanent and useful,that leads to intelligent action and further learning, can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.
John Holt
Real heroes are men who fall, fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they stayed true to their ideals, beliefs and commitments.
Actor Kevin Costner

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