Sunday, June 6, 2010

Children Playing

Good Sunday morning to you all. It is a new week here at OPOD, and we are going to be looking at pictures of children playing. This picture was taken in the Summer of 1938 in New York City, and shows a group of children playing on the sidewalk. I can remember as a child we played all the time. For the most part, playing involved either building things or using the imagination. Dirt clods were hand grenades, and you would pretend the cows were attacking German troops. We would build forts, play in barns, explore, or make things. As you played, you dreamed of some day really being an explorer, or really building a real airplane. Play today, in my mind is too organized and structured. Today play is centered around things like Xbox games, which stimulate the senses, but do not stimulate the imagination. These games also do not have any real social interaction, so social skills are not developed. I think we also overdo things like youth soccer. True these games do help develop social skills, but they do not spur imagination or creativity in the same way that building something does. When I was young, building models was a big thing. Most kids built model airplanes that would really fly from balsa wood and tissue paper. The simple ones were powered by winding a rubber band, and the more advanced ones had gas engines. Today few kids read, instead they watch movies. Each year the movies become more graphic . . . bigger explosions, more brutal fights, and less story. This is very different than reading a book, where your brain creates a little movie as you read. Working with kids, I have to say that I see a huge difference in development in this generation raised on Xbox, soccer, and movies. There is a lack of creativity, of big dreams and goals, and of social skills. So, parents, lets get our kids more models, bicycles and books. What do you think?

Domestic Update:

Well, school is out, so I have the summer to do all the things I have been wanting to do. Oh my, look at the picture below. Is that a big semi-truck pulling up to the old PJM house? I wonder what could be in it? Well, I am not going to tell you, you have to guess. You can enter as many guesses as you want. I will not respond to each guess today, so everyone will have a chance to enter. I will announce the answer tomorrow. What could Mr. PJM possibly be up to now?


  1. Your new green tractor
    More solar panels
    another wind charger
    Your new red tractor
    The guy was lost

  2. When I was a kid (late 1940's & early 50's)we played a lot of cowboys and Indians.
    Always was excited for Saturday to come. That was the only day we went to the movies.
    A lot of serial movies back then. Mostly cowboy movies. Roy Roger, Gene Autry, etc.
    But then we moved out to our farm and no more movies. So that is when your imagination had to go to work. So after feeding the chickens and gathering eggs,
    it was off to our little forest (large shelter belt) were we had built a city in the dirt, complete with roads. Then we would do other things that would get us into trouble like crawling up on top of the barn. That one was always good for a spanking, but the thrill was worth it for a 8 year old.

  3. I'll bet it's your new John Deere tractor!

  4. A serious backup generator for your internet tower so you can stop getting soaked in your neighbor's bushes.

    If it's not that, I'm guessing your new tractor.


  5. G'Day PJM....

    Seeing it's your birthday this month and you have been really working hard towards getting your tractor this does seem to be the most likely ,but then again I can't imagine a tractor being delivered in such a big truck. I may be wrong, after all am just a city girl.

    I think you're going to install your own power windmill, so no more power breakdowns, so you won't have to go hiding in your neighbours bushes to post us a Chickie Town update, seeing hurricane season and a bad one at that has been forcast.

    Cheers Aussie Lady

  6. Further more I think Dustin Ramirez will be installing your turbine for you.....

    Cheers again Aussie Lady

  7. A very large Twitty being delivered?

  8. No, my guess is actually your very own wind turbine. One that does not attract lightning strikes like the internet tower does, I hope.

  9. Hmmmm. Lots of comments on building things. Could it be a tractor kit?
    The play I really remember involved following my beagle on long runs through the countryside. I'd get sidetracked by something and he would stop and wait for me to catch up. Or carving popsicle stick boats to race down the creek. The red racing stripes from cut fingers added a lot of drama. So did picking off the leaches if we had to wade out into the stream to free a boat.
    Then there was building a fort out of scrap lumber with my next door neighbor, only to be forbidden entry until Dad cleaned up all the exposed nails. That's no fun.

  10. We built tractors out of a spool, rubber band, a piece of soap and a match stick for a lever. We followed creeks through the woods, exploring. Played Hop Scotch, Hid & seek, Annie Over and lots of outdoor games. It's a wonder we're still alive. We never worried about some stranger abducting us.

  11. Well it's a big truck, so it must be bringing something big! Or maybe several different things....

    When I was a kid in the 50s, it seems like we played outside whenever possible. Back then, watching TV was the thing that was going to ruin the kids. But our parents never needed to worry--TV always took second place to playing outside--except on Saturday mornings when everyone watched cartoons.
    Happy to say, although they do have X-box, Wii, etc., my three grandkids spend the majority of their time in "real" play with other kids, outside, whenever they can.
    I feel sad for kids who don't.

  12. I was a kid raised on the farm in the early 50's. I played cowboys and indians and army soldiers with my brothers. I invented games such as taking sticks making believe they were soldiers and my brother doing the same and then taking clods to kill off the others. The winner of the war game was the one withe the last standing stick.

  13. Naw. It's not a tractor. That would be delivered on a flat bed. I'm guessing solar panel hardware.

  14. Maybelline may be onto something. Solar, possibly for heating water if not for providing electricity.

  15. My guess is the truck is delivering some sort of building to be used for tractor storage.

  16. No tractor on that truck. I'm voting with the others for solar panels.

    Re. play, Amen Brother! Kids don't DO things anymore!!!

    I (60) want my three daughters to be capable people, and believe me they are well on their way there compared to others in their cohort. Goodness, Louisa (16) could raise tomatos in cement, that is, if she liked tomatos. Julia (15) would be more than happy to help you install those solar panels. And Mary (12) would probably double check your cost accounting -- this kid scares me.

    Well, I have become the local heroine at my favorite quilt store.

    I decided that my girls were not going to sit on their posteriors this summer rotting their brains on tv. They are all of them going to make a quilt from start to finish. I will make one as well in unison with them. This will involve fabric selection (visual arts), pattern selection (visual arts and plane geometry), technical training (sewing machine and measuring and cutting tools), planning (and lots of that), precision measurement (measure twice cut once, and don't bleed on your work), assembly line work (persistence), and finishing details.

    The whole essence of quilting is an exercise in plane geometry and patience. Patience is something that, I believe, must be taught in patient ways.

    They will all end up with something tangible they can sleep under and point to for years to come. If they never sew another stitch again, they will have learned something.

    You know what? I don't think very many kids these days get to DO a project from start to finish in this way.

    So, I hauled Louisa and Julia to (shameless plug) Red Hen Fabrics in Marietta, GA. I let them pick out some packs of color coordinated fabrics that they liked and helped them pick out some patterns that would be good. I told the ladies about the project I had planned for them this summer, and off we went.

    Several days later, I was able to bring Mary there so she could pick out her fabric. Lo! As we walked in the door, I heard one of the ladies telling a customer about my summer project with my girls! I interrupted and said that was me! and was nearly hoisted on shoulders and paraded around by staff and customers alike!

    The crying shame is that virtually no kids are learning anything of the useful home skills anymore -- sewing, cooking, gardening, simple carpentry and repair, even cleaning.

    Well, this project isn't really play, and I am making/persuading them to do it, and they do understand (reluctantly) that it might possibly be a tiny bit fun, and might make Mommy happy so they would go along with that. But they're doing something. And WE are doing something. Something that is positive and tangible and teaches many skills that will (I hope) add depth and persistence to their lives.

  17. (1st post didn't appear for a long while, so sorry if this is (sort of) a duplicate.)

    Marie, excellent post, and I hope you enjoy the summer. Your girls are very fortunate to have a mother who cares.

    Mr. PJM, no idea what's on the truck, I can't wait for tomorrow!
    And I'm hoping Anonymous R, right up front, isn't right (with "The guy was lost").

  18. Oh, and Mr. PJM: wishing you a WONDERFUL summer! :)


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