Here is a story why every child needs a meaningful childhood memories, especially how PLAY can be a place of honing and developing their dreams. I got so much inspiration in this story because similarly as a child, I had a lot of playtime with other kids in the neighbourhood. To our dear parents, let us treasure every season of our children. Let us not force them to become adults immediately while they are still young. There is a season in their lives that their world is PLAY. Let us not rob them of every opportunity where they can develop their character, attitudes and skills while they play (but I don’t mean multi-media) with others where they can get sweat, where they can also learn to bounce back after falling off and respond well in good manners after bruises, cuts and hurts. In that way, they can be very resilient in real life.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
“Pearl, here’s your bottled milk!” This was the exact words I usually heard from my godmother, every time she called me to come home after an afternoon playtime with my friends. Funny as it may seem, but I felt that I was really attacked by her (well in a good way I suppose) whenever she called me to come home using the bottled milk as a bait. I can recall how much effort she puts in calling me, to the extent that she would not mind that I am already used to running as fast as I could just to get the bottled milk she showed outside, because apparently, I was already a grade 5 pupil at that time. It would always be embarrassing if my friends would see her enthusiastically calling me out with a bottled milk on her hands.
I had an awesome childhood, and the proof would be all the scars left on my knees and elbows. I was able to enjoy every single experience I had, and I am very grateful to my parents for allowing me to have the best of what childhood memories could offer. I believe that those memories also contributed to the kind of person that I am today. My parents had followed the principle from the Word of God which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it,” (Proverbs 22:6) in all areas of my childhood life. This was applied on the way they molded me in my spiritual, academic, and in my social life.
There were so many wonderful moments of my childhood which I will forever treasure, because those memories have brought laughter and at the same time tears from all the game faces, stumbling down, falling off canals from a bicycle driving, calling out of names up to dealing with the petty issues I had with my playmates. In this article, allow me to share the activities I had and some of the significant lessons I learned during those times.
Every after class became one of the exciting periods of the day when I was younger, because those were the moments that my playmates were already waiting for me in the plaza. We were so creative in many different levels, for we had always thought of varying the games that we would play from time to time. I experienced playing all the traditional Filipino games, such as the “Tumbang Preso” which has rules similar to Duck on a Rock, wherein the players assign an IT, after throwing the “pamato” to the toe-line of the tin can. The one with the farthest “pamato” from the toe-line is the IT, and then the hitters prepare at the back of the toe-line to wait of the signal of the It that the game will already start. The “pamato” has to be retrieved right away once the tin can is knocked down because the IT will begin tagging anyone inside the circular-area, and whoever is tagged becomes the new IT. When the can is hit and falls outside the circle but remains standing, the IT has the right to tag the hitter once the hitter leaves the toe-line. The can may be kicked or knocked down under when it is outside the circle. If a hitter is not able to retrieve his/her “pamato”, the others can save him by hitting the can.
Another favourite Filipino game that we had was the “Patintero,” wherein the players start off the game by marking the ground with a rectangular shape about five to six meters, all divided into equal parts. Chalk or water is the most common kind of marker being used for this game, although sometimes the players may just draw lines on the ground by dragging their feet. The players are then divided into two teams of equal number. One team guards the area and tries to tag the members of the other team without stepping off the lines. The other team tries to get through all the two or three lines without being tagged. Both teams take turns to be runners and guards. Some of the game’s players include the patotot, the pulis and “around the world”.
We also played “Cha-cha,” a game similar to softball or baseball, but instead of batting the ball, the players kick an improvised ball made of papers and adhesives wrapped around carefully to form a circular object. Others would also use a folded rubber-slipper. Since I was mostly with my girl playmates, we also had small pageants where we showcased our talents as young girls and our ability to answer questions, which I found so enjoying. We were helped by the elder sisters of my playmates. We would have it at a vast land area we were blessed to have from our neighbourhood, which helped us with the big space we needed to play and enjoy our childhood. How could I also forget the famous and classical Chinese-garter game and Skipping Rope challenge that we perfectly mastered when I was younger. I can even remember the efforts we placed in practicing until we were able to reach the most difficult part of the challenge. These were just some of the fun activities I could remember, and I am just so grateful that I was able to socialize with the kids from my neighbourhood rather than just sitting all day at home playing the games which digital media, such as the cellphone, tablets, play station and the like could offer. I truly have seen the value of socializing and making most of the time learning from the people I met when I was younger instead of just swiping off my fingers on the screen the whole time. However, I do not entirely say that digital media for kids are non-beneficial, but I have also seen the need for parents and guardians to guide the kids for a regulated process of using these technologies when playing. There is a great need for young children to go out and play with other kids for interpersonal skills to be honed as well.
Moreover, I also grew up in the church. I enjoyed learning a lot of Bible Stories, singing children’s praise songs, performing some action songs, doing arts and crafts from our Sunday School and Vacation Bible School classes. I just could not be grateful enough to my parents who had opened so many opportunities for me to learn about God’s Word and His Love for us at a very young age. The strong foundation I had truly helped me grow spiritually as I was also growing in age. It was not too difficult for me as well to love school. Studying and learning was not as stressful as others considered it to be because I just enjoyed every single day that I met my teachers and classmates in school.
You see, there are so many great things a person learns when his childhood is spent on how it should be. It calls for careful attention and effort for a child to be able to share beautiful stories when he grows up, because nowadays, there had already been a lot of issues of abuses and maltreatment to children which can be discussed in other related readings. Saying that my childhood is the best is an understatement, because it is where my dreams started and it is when I began to see how life is beautiful.