Valentines day 2021 a 6 year old sits at his small wooden table plucks out a felt tip pen What does his hand choose to draw this day? He scribbles what his heart tells him to, what love would be. Love would be a 2 metre climbing frame, a 2 metre climbing frame so he can play at a safe distance at the park with his friends. What matters is not the distance but the park and his friends and thier playful hearts.
Its been a long year for us all, its been a longer year for our small ones, one sixth of his whole life in fact. That's too much time, not enough climbing frames. Too much, 'stay still, quiet now, calm down, keep away' and not enough, 'go, run, shout, be free, play' The year that did its best to steal the play away, except it is kids we are dealing with, and they will find a way.
It is time to re-wild the hearts of our small ones, the tiny hearts which have broken, and it has gone unspoken. They have not the words to frame their loss rather a deep sense that all has not been right with the world.
It has become clear to them that their parents are great at being parents, but they are really not great substitutes for their half-pint-sized friends. Turns out adults are not as funny as they like to think Kids know this now. Kids seek one another. they have been hiding for too long. They are coming...ready or not.
It is time to bring back the sticky, sweaty hands poking out from miniature high viz jackets. The walking bus of endless meaningless chatter, that means so much in the end. Time to bring back tag playing, secret keeping, joke telling nonsense, which is all that is needed to make sense of the world. It is time to dangle upside down on the swing, fall off the slide, and get grazed knees, reclaim the playground, re-wild our young ones, to be free.