Life Lessons on the Playground

The topic of “love” is current in our house again.  You may remember last year when the boys were starting school in the Fall that marriage and friendship were topics of conversation.  Throughout the year, we have continued to talk about what makes someone an attractive partner; whether it is more important for a friend to be kind, play with you at outdoor time, or laugh at all your jokes.  A first kiss has transpired.  You will be happy to know that no official proposals have been made though.  The kids have continued to get to know one another and the families are being introduced at this point.  Thankfully, Sam took my advice that no quick decisions needed to be made in the area of marriage.  But, there is a new twist on “love” that has gotten me thinking again.

The singer, P!nk, has come out with a new song called “Just Give Me a Reason”.  Side note:  You should know, I am a enamored with P!nk.  I love that she exudes female strength and many of her songs speak to confidence and self respect (and she is currently my favorite artist to run to).  “Just Give Me a Reason” is a song that I enjoy and happily the Top 40 radio stations agree with me, as they play it all the time.  I’ll let you in on a little secret, when we are driving around, and need a break from Caspar Babypants, the kids and I sing along to popular hits.  Historically, it is the random lyric that makes my eldest ask a question regarding the meaning of a particular song (but it doesn’t happen all that often).  The other day Sam said to me, “What does that mean?  Why are they learning to love again?”  At first, I had no idea what he was talking about, but then I realized his question was tied to this particular song.  Concurrently, I realized that this will be a new concept for him.  The idea that love might not last forever and that it might also cause hurt and pain.  For adults, this reality stares us in the face all the time, but for my children this tough lesson has yet to be learned.  A fact I am pretty darn happy about.  I told him I would have to think about how to answer his question and began puzzling over how to explain this concept to a 5-year old.

My son has tried the monkey bars at different points in his short life and they have always been appropriately tough.  After attempting those vexing bars at the park, we typically move on to playing on the slide, climbing, or trying the swings.  Then, one day I got a call.  Sam had successfully traversed the monkey bars!  He was with his grandmother and his voice was bursting with pride – like riding a bike with no training wheels kind of pride!  He was so excited.  On the next sunny day, he couldn’t wait to show off his new skill, but sadly, that day, it didn’t work.  Whether he was tired, the bars were slippery, or the moon was in the wrong phase…who knows why, he couldn’t do it again.  He tried, and tried, and tried.  In one of his failed attempts, Sam even fell and hurt his knee.  But, he got up and tried again.  He has a scar that will stay with him for awhile from all his repeated efforts.  At the time he was pretty distraught, but as we left the park that day, he told us that he had done it before and would try again.  As a parent, that is when I felt proud.  Not after his success (although I was happy for him), but after he failed and knew he would try again.  To this day I have not seen him successfully get across those darn monkey bars, but I remember the happiness in his voice after that first time.

The lyrics of “Just Give Me a Reason” go like this:

Just give me a reason
Just a little bit’s enough
Just a second we’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again
It’s in the stars
It’s been written in the scars on our hearts
We’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again

Continue reading http://www.songonlyrics.com/pink-just-give-me-a-reason-lyrics#ixzz2UE103xHG

The fact that we all have scars is universal.  The fact that we can choose to “try again” is what is so beautiful to me in this song.  We’re not broken, just bent.  We have all been hurt by things, whether it is a broken heart from love, or from attempting the monkey bars.  To have been hurt by something, and to be willing to try again is what makes us illogically human.  To hold the hope that the next time we might experience a different result… Someday, I hope to be lucky enough to watch my kids get their hearts broken by love.  Obviously their hurt is not something I will relish, but the knowledge that they are putting themselves out in the world to be vulnerable to life is what I look forward to witnessing.  I hope to teach them that risks are worth taking and to know that some of the time they will succeed in finding what they are striving for.

Summer is coming and we will have plenty of sunny days to visit the park practice and our monkey bar skills.  There may be some skinned knees along the way, but I am confident that by September, this will be a skill that Sam can feel proud of and he will have the scars to prove it.

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