As I watched kids playing two points struck me. First, kids playing could be anywhere, anytime, or anyplace. While languages and dress vary, the fundamentals of kids playing with others transcend culture and location. Second, if you keep things simple, how kids play with each other falls into two categories. On one side, there are the kids that are playing as part of a community. They look out for each other. There is a gentle give and take between them, even when they are competing for the same space at the same time. The best even worry about their peers when something happens.
In contrast there are kids playing with other kids while actually playing alone. They have no interest in what other kids are doing. They often want their parents or guardians to pay rapt attention. Regardless, they push their way to the front, the do whatever it is that they want to do. It is as if nobody was present that mattered, other than the audience of course.
When I watched the kids playing alone, it was as if s/he did not belong. You could say the other kids ignored them. It is probably true, but I am not sure who started the process. One might observe that the kid playing on her/his own did not know how to make friends. It could be true, however from the outside it seemed as though all attempts at friendship were rejected.
As I watched the unfolding story, I found myself hearing a writer’s observation in a new light. He observed that “God won’t put up with rebels; he’ll cull them from the pack.” (Psalm 34.16) I always thought it was rather harsh of God. I am not so sure. If God did not release them, he would be imposing something that was forced and contrived. God is all about community. Rebels are all about doing it on her/his own.
Judging from the smiles and laughter at the playground, if I could play, I would follow the laughter. Kids playing with kids know how to have fun.