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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Playground’ as in… Life Lessons from The Playground.

In most current contexts, the pandemic has closed even these cultural sites a swings sway empty in the breeze, merry-go-rounds aren’t merry because they’re not going ‘round, slides aren’t sliding, and teeter-totters are doing neither.

There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.

For the sixteenth year in a row, I’ve been invited to speak at a graduation ceremony in early June at Armatage Montessori School in Southwest Minneapolis. This year’s YouTube event will recognize nearly eighty 5th grade students who embrace the daily challenge placed before them by their principal: “Change the World.”

These students have learned much from their education community. But they’ve also learned a lot from “The Playground.”

It’s there that they’ve learned to share, to be patient, to take turns, to give and take, and what it takes to heal from hurt.

It’s there that they’ve learned the truth of the 1st Life Lesson From The Playground: “You’re never too young or old to play on the playground.”

A ‘Doctor’ by the name of Seuss once said: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” The way you do that is to “get thee to a playground” no matter what age you are.

The Playground is where we learn to merge our creativity with our imagination. This is how a Jungle Gym becomes a spaceship, how a slide becomes a kayak on a river, how a swing lets us fly. The Playground is where we experience the thrill of adventure and exploration. It’s where we learn that just because we’re right here now doesn’t mean we can’t be crossing a river in the Amazon.

The Playground teaches us the special math of friendship, where laughter and joy get multiplied, and challenges and sadness get divided.

The 1st Life Lesson From The Playground: “You’re never too old or too young to play on the playground.”


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where be blogs about a different word each day. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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