Do You Remember: Mother May I?
October 5, 2009
When I was a kid and everything was possible, we used to play Red Light, Green Light, Statues, Hide and Seek, Mother May I, and Tag outside all during Spring and Summer. You could hear us kids yelling “Red Light!”, a pause and then “Green Light”, the usual amount of giggles as everyone tries to stand still when red light is called. It seemed to last most of the year and I can remember how long the days seemed to be – they would last forever, I thought.
I used to hear this in the neighborhood as I got older and even in the first neighborhood I lived in after moving out of my parents house. But I haven’t heard any of these games being played out in the neighborhood in years. I suppose between television and computers, kids don’t go out into the neighborhood and play together so much.
I think that’s sad. One of the things that these interactions taught us kids was how to deal with each other as a group. It also taught us about who was the leader that day, that week, how to balance when standing still and how to play with each other even if we didn’t all like each other. There just wasn’t anyone else in the neighborhood so I learned how to be part of the group regardless of people preferences. These are the diplomatic skills that I use to this day.
These things taught me that I will have to learn how to work with people even if they’re not my cup of tea. To be able to separate out personal preference from work is an important lesson and one that I see missing more often as the years roll by. I think it’s important to remember that personalities are as varied as there are leaves on a tree, (they really aren’t all the same!). We won’t just love everyone we meet in our lifetime and it would be ridiculous to expect that everyone would love us. The key is to keep focused on the task at hand, not whether we like each other. It’s always surprising to find how much better things work when we stay focused on the goal especially when we learn how to balance when standing still.