Playgrounds, bullies, and playing fair 7/13/13

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, children just don’t get it. Some are just ornery cusses, and no matter how well they might have been raised, a certain percentage just don’t quite grow up the way you might like.

Not long ago on a playground not far from here, were four boys. We’ll call them B, P, G, and C, to protect their identities. The boys, as boys are wont to do at times, didn’t really appreciate it when the grownups told them they had to let a girl, we’ll call her V, play with them. The grownups had told them all to play nice, and as girls often do, V tried really hard to fit in. For a while, it seemed like the boys were behaving well enough that the grownups didn’t have to step in, but stood back and hoped they all learned how to get along. This might have been a forlorn hope, as it turns out.

The activities on the playground usually required a leader, and since the eyes of the grownups were on the boys fairly intensely after she joined their group, they figured they better let V lead for a while. What they didn’t expect was that V took her role as a leader seriously, and decided to do something unheard of for this particular playground.

V invited a group to play for a time on the playground with all the other kids! This group was one the boys really hated, and didn’t want anywhere near their playground. Some time ago, some of the boys even voted to say they didn’t ever want “them” to be able to get married! (Why they thought this was something they should take a vote on, nobody is quite sure. The grownups didn’t pay as much attention to it at the time as they should have, and the boys thought they got away with it, and that the grownups agreed with them) When V brought the new group in to play, the boys stood back, frowns on their faces, arms folded across their chests, and loudly said they weren’t going to play, and it was unfair of V to invite “that group” to play at their playground. Since V was the leader, and the most mature of the group (isn’t it odd how often the girls are the most mature of any particular group?), told the boys “I already invited them, and there’s nothing you can do about it!” We’re pretty sure V resisted sticking her tongue out at the boys, because of that whole maturity thing, you know, although she would have been thoroughly justified if she had.

Well, B,P,G, and C refused to play at all. In fact, they wandered off and sulked, muttering how it wasn’t fair, that V shouldn’t have done that without asking them (even though they had never asked each other when they were leaders and had wanted to invite someone to join in on the fun on the playground before), and that they were going to take their toys and leave. Before they could, though, it got dark, and the grownups called them home.

Still, B,P,G,and C were mad. Boy, were they mad. That icky girl had invited “them” to play, and the boys, especially C, thought “they” all had cooties! They decided that the next playground time they had, they were going to tell everybody at the playground that the icky group, “them”, had never actually played on their playground, after all! That it never happened! They were going to say that everybody had been invited to play with them, but for some reason the only ones that heard about it was “them”, but that the boys never actually invited “them”!

Now, the grownups around town got wind of what the boys were planning, and had been talking amongst themselves, trying to figure out what to do. Some said let them do what they want, not that many people really like “them” all that much anyway. Other grownups, who new better, said “they” had every right to be invited to play on the playground, and that the boys should just accept it and move on, that this whole “they were never really there” thing was a stupid idea, and just made the boys look mean. Others pointed out how many of “them” were really out there, and how they had done important things in places like San Francisco and Washington, D.C. recently. The grownups were still discussing matters when a holiday came up, and the playground was closed that day, so the boys couldn’t make their grand announcement. They held a quick club meeting and decided at the NEXT playground time, that’s when they’d tell everyone that “they” hadn’t actually played there at all. Yeah, that would do it, the boys decided.

Some of the grownups, trying to make the boys see sense, reminded them that at a playground in another town, some kids, who we’ll call G, W, B, S, and A, also to protect their identities, had invited people of “that” group to play at their playground, the day just before V had invited “them” to play at theirs! In fact, it was the second time they had done so! (It’s notable, again, to point out that the leader of this playground is also a girl! You go, girls!) At that playground, all the kids had invited “them” to play, even though it’s probably true that a couple of them weren’t real keen on the idea. Most everyone on the playground had a good time, and “they” were told they could come play anytime they wanted.

So now we’re a few days away from the next playground time. The boys have made it known they’re going to vote to say “they” never were invited to play, and that the invitation was really to everyone. We expect a lot of grownups to be at the playground that day, to see how things go. There’s hope that when “the boys” see how many grownups are disappointed in them, they’ll realize they should just grow up themselves. The grownups will be disappointed if they go ahead, though, and there will probably be some repercussions for everyone.

Sometimes some children just won’t grow up, no matter old they get.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s