Reflections…………………………………..Let Kids Play

“Gary, come inside it’s getting dark”. “just a few more minutes, mama”. “Tell Jackie to start home, his mother is expecting him soon”.

I recently read a report from two Long Island University Researchers, Lynn Cohen and Heather Parrott discussing their research on students enrolled in Kindergarten through the fifth grade. Their conclusion of this lengthy research project was; ‘when kids get a chance to play, they are refreshed, better focused, more on task and less disruptive at school’. This does not really surprise me . Aren’t we adults more on task and refreshed when we joke with our co-workers or engage in playful activities and discussion or just visit.

Kids who lack opportunities to play don’t get the feedback that helps them learn how to make friends. The lack of free time for children to play results in children who have a difficult time interacting with other children.

School systems have exchanged ‘recess’ for organized physical education. While Coronavirus has thrown all this up in the air, parents and educators who are worried about ‘lost learning time’ may feel that only more desk time makes sense when children return to school. However, the most crucial lessons that children learn this coming year may be those they learn in ‘play’, i.e., how to make something happen, how to solve problems, and, especially, how to make friends. Once you have friends, you’re going to have a better life at school and at home. School becomes a place where someone you like also likes you. That’s not just pleasant, especially after the social isolation of the pandemic… It’s crucial.

Every school should have some free time where children of all ages, especially kindergarten through grade five get free time in the school yard or gym to ‘play’. Yes, some adults need to be present, but they do not need to organize students’ games or resolve their arguments. Immediately after school is a great time to organize a play club

When your child arrives home after school and gets through with that snack or glass of milk, place all notepads, game books and other electronic devices on the kitchen table and tell him/her to go outside and play. If possible, occasionally invite a friend home after school or invite a neighbor to visit during this after-school time. It’s important to Let Children Play.

REFLECTIONS………………………Critical Race Theory

Monroe arrived around 7:30 each morning with responsibilities to the farm animals and preparation for the day. I usually arrived around 8:30 when the dew had begun to dry off the grass. My responsibility was a five-acre yard with several flower beds surrounded by trees and outdoor stone benches. The grass cutting usually took the major portion of three days. There was no riding mower or weed eater. Everything was done by hand.

Emma, Monroe’s wife, was the housekeeper for two homes owned by the McGarity’s. Emma made the world’s best lemonade and Monroe and I on more than one occasion smacked our lips and praised her for her talent. Monroe was a man of color – black and African American were not terms used during this era. I am Caucasian or white. Monroe and I worked, laughed, joked and shared life’s joys and sorrows together. To my knowledge we never had a cross word with each other.

If Monroe and I were in school today we would be forced to study Critical Race Theory (CRT). This lockness monster is an overriding controversial issue that is festering within the political minds of officials who want to implement it in our schools with our children before clear knowledge of what it is they are trying to do. On the surface it appears as an extraordinary, divisive idea that is composed of two groups….black victims and whiter oppressors.

Systemic racism, as correctly understood was exemplified by segregated schools and separate lunch counters. It was the wholesale murder of over 6 million Jews by the Nazis in Germany. Systemic racism is NOT a relatively small number of isolated, unrelated incidences over a period of many years. Ask any young person, of any race, if they have ever experienced insults from friends, have ever felt slighted by teachers, or who have ever suffered the occasional injustice in school, and you are bound to hear grievances, some petty some not. We have not had systemic racism against Blacks (people of color)in this country since the Civil Rights reforms of the 1960’s. A period of more than 50 years. To state otherwise is a flat misrepresentation of our country’s history and adds no understanding to any of today’s societal issues. In fact, let it be noted that longstanding and widespread policies such as Affirmative Action and the promotion of minorities point in precisely the opposite direction. There is more than adequate evidence that America is Not a racist country. There is more than adequate evidence that racism is not the problem but rather a lack of moral character. History is clear, our forefathers came to America and established colonies with a platform of strong character development based upon Judeo-Christian values. You only have to take a walk through our Capital city of Washington, DC to note the reference to Godly principles carved in buildings as a common theme. It is the loss of individual and collective character within our elected officials and throughout the population, not racism, causing the ills we face.

Having said the aforementioned, I am angered at the prospect of school systems requiring young people to sit through lectures and presentations where police officers are described as ‘murderers’ without any context. Such comments are insulting. I recently read the lecture from Dr. Carol Anderson of Emory University which included the comment, “Understanding Whiteness and White Rage”

The current direction of higher education and CRT teaching is pitting people of color (blacks) and whites against each other and causing needless divisiveness. CRT is destructive to our school systems and the cohesion and morale of our young people. IT WILL CAUSE IRREPARABLE HARM TO UNITY.

If your school system is or has implemented any form of Critical Race Theory as part of the school curriculum, I encourage you to become informed of this vital issue as quickly as possible and be sure classes in the humanities and social sciences provide lesson of instruction dedicated to teaching the history and writings of ALL people. And in the voice of Martin Luther King……”little children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. “

Reflections…………………………………….Footprints

The two of us, my lifelong friend and myself, got in the car on a Saturday morning with no destination in mind. We were nostalgic and wanted to visit yesteryear.   Where should we start?  Immediately we realized we were brought together by parents who believed in living a Holy life with the church the center of our early years.  It wasn’t just our lives, practically everyone we knew lived lives around activities at the church or in some way related to the church. This was the footprint of our early years.

It was quite interesting as we rode together on the road to nowhere we began to reminisce of those early days with comparisons to today.  We hear reports of increasing alienation in America.  People are separated from their families by thousands of miles.  We no longer pass family histories and  real traditions from generation to generation.  Yet we yearn for a sense of connection as never before. 

My friend and I both agreed that much of the needs expressed by today’s generation are the same as we had  growing up.  We laughed when we were talking about our first date with a girl was sitting in church.  Our first ‘real date” occurred after Sunday night services and “piling” in a car with other couples to go to the ‘tastee freeze”. My friend and I spent the day looking at “footprints” of our lives.  We concluded the day sitting in the town square in the town of Covington, Georgia.  This was a familiar area for the two of us.  As we sat and observed the hustle and bustle of people going into the various restaurants, deli’s, ice cream shops, we noticed two young girls were holding hands with an elderly couple praying together. With tears in our hearts we smiled………………………………………..

As I look at the wealth of information from travels, personal articles, books, presentations and materials, I see footprints from my life. Your life will leave a trail of stories and memories in your wake. Our desire should be that we will be remembered, not for who we were or what we did, but for Whom we lived.