When we first got to the park, I noticed the park program was in full swing. The city hires summer students to guide kids through crafts and games every weekday at some parks. I was happy that my son had something to do. But the parks students weren’t very welcoming and didn’t seem the least bit interested in asking my son to join them as we watched the crafts that they were doing. Eventually my son found one of his hockey buddies and they went to play soccer on the grassy knoll instead. As I watched other kids during the parks program, I noticed that the hired students didn’t smile once and they sure didn’t seem to be kid-friendly by trying to make things interesting or helping out or trying to include some of the more shy kids. Maybe I expected too much. But I think it should be a prerequisite for people in this position to smile once in a while.
As I sat on the bench by myself, I noticed a handful of pre-teen boys running frantically around the park holding their phones in front of their faces. They ran right past me, one boy almost tripping on my legs. I was wondering, with all the space around me, why the kid ran so close to me that I almost tripped him. Then I realized the boys were playing that new Pokemon Go game. I watched in fascination as these kids walked over picnic tables, ran through the trees, and almost ran into other people. Then I thought about how intrusive this game could be. I can honestly say I have no desire whatsoever to download that stupid app.
One good thing that’s changed in the past few years is that I see a lot more dads at the park with their kids. One guy was obviously quite seasoned at taking his kids to the park for the day. He had his own lawn chair, a cooler bag full of snacks and drinks, and a towel laid out. When I first arrived at the park, he was reading contentedly in his chair. Later on, I noticed he was playing with the kids. And, just as I was getting ready to leave, I saw him snoozing on his towel that laid on the grass. He wasn’t the only dad at the park (there were quite a few more throughout my time that I say on the bench and read my book) and I’m happy to see dads being just as involved in their kids lives as their mothers. I’m sure those mothers appreciated some alone time too.
It was an interesting and enlightening day for me and I’m grateful for the sunny days that allow me and my son to spend time outside. I’m looking forward to many more.