We desire to be understood and seek to understand others. But, sometimes, we experience conflict and discord in our lives and relationships with others. The desire for peace and harmony is an essential part of the human experience. Most of us first learn about conflict and the experience of reconciliation on the playground. The essentials of human relationships are first experienced through interaction with playmates. Someone playing too long on a swing or not waiting their turn can be a source of major playground conflict.
How do kids resolve these conflicts? They point to the playground rules: everyone gets a turn and no one gets to cut in line. Children also navigate their play environment by learning how to belong and the importance of sharing. If someone is screaming and crying, everyone’s experience is diminished. Children learn to comfort each other by sharing a toy or playing a different game. When there is a new kid on the playground, the children know someone should invite them to join in. The playground is the birthplace of caring for others and feeling the need to be cared for and respected.
Jesus said we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. As adults and as Christians, we should remember the playground rules. It’s not okay to take a parking space from someone, even if you’ve been looking for thirty minutes. If you see a new person in church, walk over to say hello and maybe strike up a conversation. Maybe carry cash and share it with a person on the corner holding out that cup? Wait patiently in the grocery line if someone decides to write a check and takes their time even if you are running late. How about picking up one of those casserole pans and making a dish to feed our homeless neighbors?
In your daily life and work, remember the playground rules and play nice.
– Niquelle Allen