February 22, 2013

Non-Stop Activity is Not Sustainable

We have to stop and relax, observe, have fun, or just be

In our doing obsessed culture we rarely, if ever, stop. We rarely stop for fun, and more than likely we never stop just to be. Kids are pretty good at just being, and can teach us a lot about what we have lost as adults.

One year while teaching elementary school, I was out on the playground at recess supervising. For me doing supervision was enjoyable because I could get outside and see the students in the more natural settings of play and "kid world".

Supervision consisted of strolling around, scanning the area, and being an authority figure that was at the same time safe, strong, and approachable. You certainly didn't play while on supervision, although it was difficult not to get caught up in the energy and joy of 200 little people getting their sillies out.

While passing a line of children penduluming back and forth on the swings, I eyed an empty seat. I dashed for the swing, sat down, and started pumping and pulling my way into the sky.

I was flying with everyone else when I was jarred out of my soaring sensation by a student yelling, "LOOK!"

I stopped pumping my legs and saw the student on the grass in front of the swings pointing at me and admonishing the kids gathering around her.

"Look!" she shouted again, mouth hanging open, "a teacher having fun!"

The children around her also gaped as they watched me slow down, jump off the swing, and straighten my coat before continuing on my supervision. Perhaps they had never seen such an outrageous sight in their brief period of existence in "adult world".

A small group of stunned kids followed me around for the rest of recess, and for a short while I was the pied piper of fun.

Perhaps the students at that school still tell the playground tale of the mythical adult AND teacher that dared to stop and have fun for one brief, glorious, playful moment.

I will certainly never forget it.


  1. I have been following your site for a few weeks now. What great posts you have!

    I loved your story today - keep up the good work!

    1. Jan, thanks for following along. Glad you are with us on this project.

  2. I too cannot resist the pull of an empty swing.

    1. Joanna, Good for you for taking the time to indulge the urge to blow it all off and be spontaneous.

      Other things I can't resist would be the pull of happy flowers, climbable trees, people laughing, and an empty hammock (which is kind of like a very comfortable swing).

      Thanks for reading and sharing!

  3. As a lunchroom supervisor, I sometimes cannot resist joining in with a game of soccer......

    This was a great story, and the picture at the top is very funny and reminds me of this book - It's a Book by Lane Smith

    1. Jess,

      Bless the lunch room supervisors. Thank you for what you all do.


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