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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, March 18 2001

Play essentials

All that children need to play is time; often, it seems the toys designed to enhance play are hindrances. More focus can be made on the way toys are properly used than is expended on their inherent use, facilitating play. Stories abound of children finding the containers their toys come in more stimulating than their contents...playing with the box more than what came in it.

One Christmas while shopping for the children's gifts, I spied a Radio Flyer wagon and decided on the spur of the moment that all children should have a wagon, so I bought one for my youngest who, on seeing it under the tree Christmas morning seeming nonplussed. What was this for? How could he enjoy this, compared with a fire truck or train set? I was let down and felt I'd made a mistake.

Years later as we rode across the country the boys got to talking about their childhood, and Kevin remembered how big a part the Radio Flyer played in their playing. "That was the best Christmas gift I ever got," he said to my utter surprise. It had freed their imaginations to take wings (there's an allusion here to the movie Radio Flyer, which is highly recommended for renting if you enjoy childhood fantasy).

An advantage of growing up on the farm was that the barn was a wonderful staging area for play. Being Captain Marvel was much more meaningful if there was a hay mound to jump into from 10 feet above, or a hay pulley and rope set that could be "flown" across the whole barn in simulation of personal flight. Such occupations could fill a whole rainy day and dispel doldrums. One day the barn was the sky on which we took flight in an enactment of a Captain Marvel comic, the next it would be the ocean, and the pulleys served to drop us down into the deep for search of treasures, inspired by the movie The Wake of the Red Witch.

Do kids play cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, at all any more? How much is their imagination released in the age of computer games and 24-hour cartoon networks?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Just Punishment

One Sunday a minister played hooky from church so he could enjoy a round of golf, leaving his assistant to conduct the service. He drove to a faraway golf course to avoid bumping into any parishioners. Looking down, St. Peter said to God, "You're not going to let him get away with this, are you?"

The Lord shook his head. The minister took his first shot and scored a 420-yard hole-in-one. St. Peter was beside himself. "I thought you were going to punish him!" he said to the Lord.

The Lord looked at St. Peter and replied, "So who's he going to tell?"

Sent by Frank Charney

Lenten thought

After I came to Ireland, every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed. The love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many in the night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountains; and I used to get up for prayer before daylight, through snow, through frost, through rain, and I felt no harm, and there was no sloth in me, as I now see, because the spirit within me was then fervent.

St. Patrick, c. 385-461 , Confession

Lenten thoughts (i.e., pertaining to repentance and spiritual growth, from any faith-community perspective) are solicited from readers.

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