A CHURCH LEADERS meeting today touched upon the suggestion that expensive works at a nearby children’s play area would remove the swings now deemed to be “unwanted and unpopular”. Tosh! I spluttered. Tosh! And other parents and grandparents amongst us begged to differ with the powers that be. Swings? Unpopular? Not in our recent experience.

Turns out that maybe someone misheard the story a bit. Renovation works are coloured by contemporary health and safety sensibilities. The swings are apparently to be made safer. OK. I understand the desire. But you can’t have a Real play area without swings can you? Like you can’t have a Real life without them. Without wild ups and downs and round and arounds and pushing and pushing at the boundaries of rules and experience …

Swings and the metaphors they inspire stayed with me all day. And then, perfectly timed, as ever, I found my friend Francesca Zelnick’s The Circle Game … have a read, and wonder whether her story’s about you 🙂

3 thoughts on “SWINGS

  1. I am so honored, Simon, and I LOVE “But you can’t have a Real play area without swings can you? Like you can’t have a Real life without them.” Perfect 🙂

  2. This is so good. You have touched on one of my sore spots about contemporary life. I think we are protecting children to the point of crippling them. We are also denying them the carefree, careless, uninhibited fun that children should have, as they certainly cannot have it when they are grown. We are filling them with caution, fear, concern, uncertainty. We are also cutting them off from nature. What parent today would allow his children to climb trees? And yet, they suit them up for combat to play sports. Yes, swinging can be dangerous—if you fall off. Taking a shower can be dangerous. But swinging is the closest a kid gets to flying. Kids are always grinning when they’re swinging. Remember? “Push me higher, higher.”

  3. Great metaphor. Great picture. Swings and roundabouts go to the heart of everyday life – sometimes with the fun taken out of them.

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