Monday, September 15, 2008

The 'Golden Olden Days' of outdoor games!

I took time off to energize my brain on the sight here. Can you figure out the game being played by these kids? If yes, did you play it? If no, did you live in any rural African place?

Lemme give you briefer. The game is simple. There are those big beetles or bugs with hard covers and wings... generally black huge things that I have always thought are too fat and lazy...

What happens is that kids catch them and tie a string on their leg or any other part of the body that will not hurt but that will ensure that the beetle is firmly secured and will not fly away from the thread either. Then the insect is given some 2 or 3 meters space.... to fly around.

You guessed right! Since they are tied and held by a child, the best they can do is to fly in circles...

That is when you realise at what speeds those bugs can fly... you hear them like airplanes around your face... and it is an exciting experience.. The adults used to use them to scare the smaller ones... I figure kids still react the same way I used to when I was kid - first you run, then you pick up courage and determine to see the bug at a closer range... Then you come right back and try and hold your grounds..; but then the flying things whizzes past and you have to duck ..

So it is a kind of duck and come again game. Risk and curiosity mingling with running and screaming and coming back again and again and again... until the insect gets tired and will be let go.

This is a game kids play in rural Africa... healthy, laughter-filled, community life games. Everyone is happy and refreshed after it.

So why is this blog talking about 'Golden Olden Days'? Well because healthy, laughter-filled and community open air games for kids are dying out. They are now being overtaken by digital, violent and personalised games. Games that kids play shut in, sitting, moving only the hands. Games that are bent more on conquering, dominating and winning.

These computer, cell phone and other electronic games are robbing our kids of fresh air, of healthy exercise, of a sense of community, of sharing and playing just for the sake of the game!

Worse, they are modeling our kids to be the youth of tomorrow.. to become the Africans of tomorrow.