A Study of Character: At the Park

MP900202010As a mother of a five year old boy, I find that I frequent the local parks quite a bit. In fact, it is probably my most visited location besides the grocery store since my son’s birth. In spending a lot of time at playgrounds, I’ve discovered a true writing treasure- the ability to study a wide variety of characters and the basic human condition in just an hour or two of doing my most important job of all- “being mom”.

Want to get a good glance at an array of human behaviors from antagonistic, insecure, mischievous to friendly, confident, and intuitive? Just take a trip to the park, and let this small playground world give a glimpse into the bigger world. It’s a cast of characters waiting to be plucked for a story or novel, or just to be studied to understand reactions to certain situations. It’s humanity raw with all the complexities of adulthood stripped away. It’s the simplicity of behaviors at the most infant stage. Friendships are forged in a matter of one slide down the big red twisty slide. Or witness that awkward moment when no one can agree on what to play, or personalities clash like a display of colorful fireworks. It’s all there to see for anyone willing to watch. It’s where priceless moments are created and children learn to belong, or just find out how annoying some kids can really be. But the kids aren’t the only illuminating presences at the park. Some of the most interesting playground lurkers are the parents themselves.

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