What I Learned About Community From Childhood Summer Play

Oh the places we traveled; the small tribe of us. I was blessed with a dozen or so companions in childhood adventures.
Who knew a refrigerator box would be the vehicular venue through which we could see the world? In those hot sticky days, a few of us would gather inside the box to blast off. A crayon drawn monitor became our “means” of communication to the Earth. The cardboard walls were privy to hours of conversation and giggles. And sometimes; silence.
When our rocket was not destined for take-off, parades took place. Within our community, leadership emerged.  Organization took place. Who will lead? How will the  event be communicated to our small loyal crowd of families?
I learned much from that tribe. Much like the “Backyardigans,” our play allowed creativity to be unleashed. Visions gave way to projects. Together, we made them happen. Listening, learning, and collaborating. In a way our interactions became a blueprint for thriving in community.
How do you respond to someone with whom you disagree?
What’s the best way to complete a project?
Who are the leaders? Who are the followers?
What do each of us offer?
Play. It is a blessing. In its most pure, unplanned form.
I am thankful planned play dates had not evolved.  Learning to live with those put in our midst is called community. Finding our place in one allows us to peer into God’s face. To partake in the beauty of God’s creation.
Community can form in the workplace, standing in line, in church, on a train…
And even in a refrigerator box.
This post is written for the Five Minute Friday Writing Community. Come join us! http://fiveminutefriday.com/2017/07/06/link-up-play/

14 thoughts on “What I Learned About Community From Childhood Summer Play

  1. Tara

    Our over a neighbors garage or on a porch. I remember playing Beauty Pageant on our neighbors front porch. I also remember playing Anty I Over over their garage. So many wonderful memories! Play does truly happen in various places. We are neighbors this week.

  2. Sarah Geringer

    Hi Stephanie. I like your insight: play is an intro to the world of adult relationships. I hadn’t thought of it that way before! I’m #14 this week at FMF.

  3. Lisa Brittain

    Imagination is a great way to PLAY! I love your picture and the words you used to paint a picture of play in my mind. Takes me back to childhood days – barefoot bike rides until dark and climbing the big tree in the cul de sac in which every child had their own selected branch! I bless you to feast on JOY!

  4. Marie

    Refrigerator boxes are the best! Boxes in general, really. My brother and I spent so many hours going on adventures in these boxes, as you describe.
    I wonder where play has gone. I hate to see parents squash the natural creativity of their kids by rushing them to this activity and that class. Kids need space and time to be bored so that they can learn all the wonderful things you talk about here.

    1. Stephanie Post author

      Yes! I think that the current playdate climate does a disservice to kids. They are not challenged to embrace the community in which they are placed. They don’t learn to navigate through relationship challenges or understand the narratives different from their own.

  5. Jeannie Prinsen

    Your thumbnail on the linkup page said “What I learned about community from playing in a R” — and then it stopped and I wondered “What is that going to say: playing in a Rock and Roll band?” I would never have guessed refrigerator box. 😀 Such a great lesson you’ve presented here: how much can be learned from the simplest experiences we have as children. Thanks for sharing; this is so good.


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