Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Swinging, Rolling, And Spinning

As an enthusiastic, new parent, I once made myself vomit from rolling down a grassy hill one too many times. It had likely been a couple decades since my last grassy hill and I'd remembered it as joyful, but the actual experience was anything but. The same goes for swinging. I'll sometimes sit on our playground swings, but anything more than a couple back-and-forths and I'm done.

It's part of growing up. Young children crave swinging, rolling, and spinning. That's because they need it. It helps their nervous system to mature and organize. I've written before about how we've never found a need to make rules surrounding out our swing set, a place where there are often as many as a dozen kids engaged in getting their sensory fix, activating the fluid filled cavities of their inner ears, instinctively developing their sense of balance, finding their centers. It's yet another example of how children, when left to their own devices without the constant direction of all-knowing, all-protecting adults, know what is best for themselves.

Of course, they are "just" playing, and no matter how much science there is behind what they do, the play always comes first. Indeed, it is a failure of our modern world that we feel we must prove play's value with science. Play, like love, like wisdom, like life, is a pure good: that it is supported by science should strike us all as a "no duh" revelation.

One girl was working to go "all the way upside down."

One girl had persuaded an adult to wind her up in the tire swing, "Higher . . . higher . . . higher . . ." in anticipation of a wild, out-of-control ride.

One girl was opting to keep matters under own hand, twisting the chains herself, then allowing her body to more slowly spin-drop until her dragging feet brought her to a stop. They played their spinning and swinging games over-and-over, not vomiting, thrilling at their dizziness.

They were playing, following their instincts, joyfully. It was everything to them. If adults could re-learn to trust children, it would be everything to us as well  . . . Although perhaps not for us.

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