Kindness on the Playground

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sharingOn a recent newly warm afternoon in spring, I bravely packed up my crew and brought them to the local park. The children dispersed, and as I wandered around checking on their whereabouts and general safety, I found my boy playing with trucks. Trucks that were not his and trucks that I knew did not belong to this particular playground.  

I frantically scanned the area for the child who would run screaming toward my son and claim them as his or hers. That is what my child would most likely do if his eyes lay upon a stranger using HIS truck. 

I am happy to report that I didn’t find any frantic child but a “mom group” set up with a stockpile of chalk, balls, and vehicles. My mind was blown. How did they manage to haul their children, strollers, and diaper bags along with all these other items to the park? Why would they open themselves up to the public sharing discrepancies these toys may bring?

I shadowed my son, reminding him they were someone else’s toys and someone may come back to play with them. Preparing him for the moment, he would have to turn over these trucks to their rightful owner.  

The funny thing is that no parent or child had a problem sharing with my boy. When I thanked the mother who supplied the trucks, she replied that it was her child’s idea to bring extra to the park to share. She told her son to bring only two trucks to the park, but he asked to bring more because other children may want to use them. 

I was immediately taken back by the kindness of this boy. I know my children and sharing only occurs when a grown-up is negotiating the interaction. Even then, the sharing is reluctant and definitely grounds for moodiness. Sharing interactions between my three children is difficult. I don’t often find any of my children putting another’s feelings or wishes before their own. 

My own defensive parenting and worrying what scuffle and tantrum these trucks may bring. It prevented me from recognizing and enjoying the kindness of others. 

I went to the parenting bad place, expecting the worst of my child and not allowing him to enjoy his time playing. The extra playground toys were not a nuisance; they were an added perk for all to share, and I am grateful for the kindness and happiness that they brought my son. 

{I wrote this in the spring of 2019. At the time, I had a 5-year-old and 3-year-old twins. It was one of those first warm days that gets everyone excited and out of the house. The park was packed with families enjoying the weather. I miss the park. I miss having opportunities to witness spontaneous sharing. I miss my kids running around with strangers and seeing their maskless faces smiling.}
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Jamie is a real estate agent with The Valentini Group www.thevalentinigroup.raveis.com and a full time mom to a daughter (2014) and boy and girl twins (2016). She was born and raised in Westchester County, NY and now lives in Danbury, CT with her husband of eight years, their cockapoo, three children, and a revolving door of foster puppies. Jamie previously worked in the field of early childhood education and now enjoys practicing it at home. When she's not spending time with her family or helping clients find their dream home Jamie likes getting out with her girlfriends, running, baking, and watching lots of TV.

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