Friday, December 11, 2009

I haven't written here for some time. Much has occurred in the interim. Why there is a statement that couldn't possibly be more understated.

For instance, Obama has decided to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Global warming is, according to the kooks, just an invention of a few bad apple science guys at the University of East Anglia. H1N1 has swept the globe and may again before it vanishes. Martha Coakley has won the Democratic primary for Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts. And we have had another kid.

What has struck me most about the situation I find myself in presently, with two children under three years of age, is that I am often at one playground or another, thrown together with other parents of young children, and we manage, without coaxing or uneasiness, to converse and share our experiences.

This is an odd feeling for me, because as a writer I spend so much of my time alone, isolated from other adults. Yes, I am with my children and family, but often I am not in meaningful conversation with other adults for days at a time. But playgrounds, and having kids, changes all of that. The fears and reserve that I feel in many other situations fall away at the playground.

Oh, look at that guy, I think. He's probably a grouch and a kook. But wait. He's pushing his kid on the swing, and look, his kid seems to like him all right. And kids know what they're doing when it comes to character judgement. So I think I'll say hello. And, by George, a conversation ensues about the efficacy of pychological treatment of war traumatized veterans.

Why doesn't that happen more? What is the problem with adults generally and our society, generally, that we are so shut down to dialogue and shooting the breeze? What are our fears - that others will judge us, or that others don't like us, might resent us, etc.? I am not sure. But I am sure that if we all took our kids over to Afghanistan to meet the Afghani kids on the Afghani playgrounds, there would be no problem figuring out how to converse, and without violence.

Maybe that's a crackpot notion, but I will stand by it. Think of our world from the perspective of our children, what they like, what's good for them, how we would like others to approach them, and the world we would like to build for them, and many of the complications that we adults place on the world fall away. Things get clear. Conversations become easy to have.

So, I say head to the playground immediately and don't leave until it's really time to go.

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