Running through the fields with gay abandon, making up games, kicking a football around, falling over, climbing things, exploring. Was this your childhood? Watching my young sons do all of this and more reminds me of the innocent fun I had at times growing up.
When we moved to my wife’s rural village, farang friends gave the usual dire warnings of a tedious life. And for me they were partly right. Thank goodness for an abundance of golf courses but that`s another story. What I didn`t anticipate was the joy I get watching the kids play and joining in at times. It got me thinking about the similarities of my childhood and my own kids’.
Here in the village there is next to no traffic. Do you remember playing on a road and then `tutting` because a car was coming?
I see kids of all ages playing with my 4 year old and 1 ½ year old with no hint of bullying or nastiness. In fact the older kids are kind, tolerant and look out for the younger ones. It`s also a very safe environment with the neighbours also looking out for the kids.
And all the time my kids are learning – about life – about falling down & getting up, getting cuts & bruises, playing with peers, big dog-little dog, that leaf wasn`t good to eat, nor the dirt or the worm, being inventive making up silly games, using your imagination and that adults call the shots on bedtime.
The kids here always seem to have fun no matter who they`re with or what they`re doing. But add the magical ingredient…water….now you`re talking. A river, muddy pond, a watery rice field or simply just a tub of water. Who needs to wait until Songkran?
Does any of this take you back to your childhood? It does me and I don`t think it did me too much harm. Thailand may have many faults for children as they get older in terms of education, family pressures to work, dangerous roads etc. But for all that, I feel very blessed to be in a part of the world where, for now, they`re not robbed of the innocence of childhood.
(Article: Mick Davis)