During a recent visit to the Toledo Zoo, I had the rare opportunity to watch both the elephants and the giraffes at play. The most recent baby elephant, Louie, was having quite a time throwing hay at his mother. Then he would run up and bump her on the behind. They played back and forth for quite a while and “Mommy” didn’t get cross or mad at little Louie. It was great fun to see them together.
When we moved on to the giraffe display in the zoo’s African Savanna, we got to see another Mommy and baby interact with each other. This little guy was playing “nip the butt” with his mommy. He would nip her on the behind, then run to the other side of the savanna. Soon he would come almost skipping around his mommy and nip her again. Mommy was quite good natured about the whole thing and didn’t seem to mind a bit as they continued their little game.
I think some people parents can take a lesson from these wild creatures. We take life so seriously and even fight over a child’e baseball or soccer game. We think play aways has to be structured and we ALWAYS have to win. I had three small children in sports and my husband coached both baseball and kickball, so I have seem both sides of this story.
Games don’t have to be structured to be fun. My grand-daughter and her family count VWs and PT Cruiser’s when they travel. It’s lots of fun and nobody really cares who wins the game. We used to give our kids big cardboard boxes and let them play in the back yard. They would create the most unusual things; everything from rocket ships to fancy house with lace curtains. What fun we had and no structure, no rules.
Life is too complicated. Sometimes we just need to laugh and skip or roll in the grass. We all will grow old soon enough, so let’s enjoy the “kid” in us and have some fun. I think it might even make Jesus smile a bit. I’m sure He played in the sand with the children of His day and quite enjoyed it.