Monday, June 7, 2010

Start the day with recess

The onward plodding slowed as we approached the building. Even though we are approaching the final three days of school, it is still school for three more days nonetheless. The weekend’s freedom was coming to an end, and the students in the courtyards and playgrounds started to converge on the doorways leading to the classroom.

As the children tried to find order in their excitement to prepare for their calmer “school-accepted” volumes and demeanor, the teacher emerged from the doorway. Normally she stands back and holds the door for the youngsters, allowing them passage. Today she extended her arms, keeping them at bay and forcing them to retreat and not enter the school room. The kids were shocked at their interrupted routine.

The teacher spoke these heavenly words: “Children, leave your backpacks here on the steps. Today we are starting the day with recess!”

The sky’s parted. Heaven appeared before all. Once the statement sunk in, my son raised his hands and shrieked as if exalting to the witness of a biblical miracle. It was the kind of shriek that I know windows shattered, car alarms went off, flocks of birds flew away, dogs started barking and forest animals jerked their head in startled amazement.

What a pleasant surprise!

Okay I am forty five years old; I still want to be able to start my day with recess from time-to-time. Maybe I can. I guess our interpretation of recess has maybe changed. I am aware that if I were to join the kids on the swings in the morning that is, well ...just creepy. I find that recess is simply a pleasurable break in the routine. “What” the break encompasses is subject to personal interpretation.

Upon reflection, I find that I have been finding ways to incorporate “recess” into my schedule recently; especially in the mornings. Since I often hit the ground running due to my obligations to my kids and having to get them off in time, I have found a greater need to regroup. Adhering to a strict and tight schedule can be something to admire, but to fill every moment of every day dedicated to a specific task can wear a body thin.

I have added 15 minutes to my alarm clock in the morning. I find that this is ample amount to be able to sip down a mug of coffee, catch up on some news, emails, or light headlines prior to getting the kids off.

I walk my kids to school in good weather. A little exercise never hurts anyone. On the way home today I had a pleasant conversation with the neighbor dog. It had been a while. It was good to see Scout again.

I also find that my music player is a great way to achieve recess at any given moment. My trips to the grocery, walks in the neighborhood, and other simple tasks take on a more serene feel in the presence of music. There is just something calming when life has a cool soundtrack. I have a tendency to look at things with more of a “cinematic appreciation.” I star in my own movie.

I guess for us adults, we need to find things that allow us to disconnect from the grind and recharge, if only momentarily. We often exclaim that we “do not have the time” for simple diversions, however we often find time for the “Today Show” or the “Bachelorette.” Hours and hours of it. I remember in school as a child, recess was often fifteen minutes long, and was a most treasured fifteen minutes at that. Try to retrieve your precious quarter hour my friends.

As we grow on and grow old, we mustn’t drift from the idea that recess is exclusively for children. Children are just wise enough to expect it as a nourishing part of their day. Of course we may look foolish if we were to run, arms a flailing, screaming, and twirling in circles; but wouldn’t it feel great?

The business man with his tie extended from his neck in the centrifuge of a carousel, giggling with eyes closed hoping to not throw up. Maybe using his briefcase as a way to slide down a hill. Perhaps the female executive climbing a tree in her skirt, not concerned with social inappropriateness and brushing her hands off on the front of her readily available blouse. Restyling hair for the afternoon would be simply brushing your bangs out of your face on the way back to the boardroom. Okay maybe not. But it is fun to think about, and creates a comical mental picture.

Remember recess is where we exercise a little, temporarily lay down the routine, thumb our noses at the schedules, and simply “be.” We play, we live.

Simply we must remember to just take a few minutes. This gift we give to ourselves allows us to better give to others. We can start our day with recess. We can fit in some fun, some activity, some exercise; something that recharges and prepares us. We just have to prioritize it.

So twirl on my friends, run with arms in the air, and scream. And before anyone else says it: “Dibs on the swing!”


Ardith Haws said...

Thanks for the smile.

Marika utomjording(extraterrestre, alien) said...

My son just told me he want to be hugged on the that recess too?
I mean I have things to do now...or?

Stefanie said...

That teacher scored some serious points! I might have to pull that one with my goof-balls one of these days just to show them that Mommy can be laid back sometimes, too! Thanks for the reminder.

Stefanie said...

This also made me think of the concept of having dessert first...mmm, off to bake homemade choco-chip cookies!

mpmi said...

Hey I just purchased a copy of the book as promised. I will let you know how much I like it. For now I noticed the catchy titles for the chapters, Nice. Keep up the good work.

Momma Fargo said...

Love recess!

TirzahLaughs said...

If being a grown up means giving up all joys in life, then what's the point?