We Played With Sticks | 31 Days of Growing Up

I chuckle, with an eyebrow raised if I could, when I see little, little kids "playing" on smartphones. Or the elementary-aged kids across the street riding up and down the sidewalks on their battery-powered scooters.

Mostly I just think, Really?

When I was a kid, we played with sticks.

We finished our schoolwork and headed outside to play in our backyard acre of pine trees. Along with the trees, there were a rusting metal swing set and two bigger swings on a beam between two pines; a big, homemade sandbox; and a log cabin and a tree fort (built by my dad). We discovered many possible acrobatic feats on the swing set, like climbing across on the top pole or hanging by our feet from the trapeze rings (which didn't always end well). We dug farther than anyone expected when first building us a sandbox, and borrowed baking soda and vinegar for volcanoes. We spent hours playing pioneers and/or Indians, collecting berries and various foliage as food sources, and games of cops and robbers in the cabin and fort. And sometimes we just climbed on those structures, too.

We created our own fun. We ran free in our bare feet and our imaginations ran wild as we made up stories and scenarios and entertained ourselves. We came in at the end of the day, sometimes dirty, sometimes with new scrapes or a bloody nose, sometimes still fuming over a lost game, and we were happy.

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”
      ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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