Ruminations: Live Free or…By Rumni Saha
Dodgeball and tag were recently banned from some schools in New Hampshire — a move implemented to “combat bullying and take the violence out of the schools.” This seems a bit ironic coming from a state that has no law restricting the age at which a person may possess and carry firearms, wouldn’t you agree?
When I hear logic such as this, it makes me laugh. We as a society have become used to blaming someone else besides ourselves for everything that goes wrong. We are always looking for a scapegoat for our failures, whether it is in our personal lives or the lives of our loved ones. We have lost the ability to introspect and to think, even for a moment, that perhaps the problem lies with us.
Whether we’d like to acknowledge it or not, the fact remains that harmless pushing and shoving are a part of growing up; as adults we need to ensure that such tomfoolery does not get out of hand. And this is where close supervision — at home and work — comes into play. Seems like the adults are trying to take the easy way out so we don’t have to do our jobs. Let’s target and tackle the real problem here folks. If an army of termites attacks my house, will I target the colony or demolish the house? Exactly!
Furthermore, I am curious: Are parents in New Hampshire also banning violent video games at home? Because if tag promotes violence, the games that we let our underage children play often promote sex, drugs and other inappropriate content, along with violence.
I remember clearly the squeals of pure-hearted fun coming from the yard as my son played tag with his friends. I can still hear the victorious laugh and the reveling that ensued as he tagged his friends while they ran around like madmen. I also remember the disappointment that he experienced when he was tagged. I would often (discreetly) watch him and his little buddies trying to manipulate their way back into the game when tagged and being momentarily sad when excluded. I also remember trying hard not to intervene to “make things okay” for the little hurting hearts. I am glad I didn’t, for through many such tiny interactions the boys learned valuable life lessons. They learned that in life, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. When you win, you don’t gloat because the next moment you may be down. When you lose, you still try to be a good sport because no one cares for a brat. But most importantly, they learned that at the end of the game, all is forgotten.
Growing up, my little guy and his friends played many a game of tag and dodgeball, and at 15 he and his partners in crime are not bullies or violent young men, but fairly well adjusted, regular teenagers. I am not claiming that tag or dodge ball alone was responsible for teaching them the difference between right and wrong. What I am saying is that we need to provide our children with opportunities to be children and to figure out things for themselves sometimes.
Banning tag will not make them less violent, but setting good examples at home will. Playing dodgeball will not make them a bully, but instilling in them the right values and teaching them that kindness is the only option will certainly prevent any such transgression.
So let’s tag the problem without dodging the real issue — let’s grow up and let our children be children.
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