Controlled Chaos

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Sometimes I wonder if adults try too hard to organize “fun”, what would happen if kids were given more freedom to make their own mistakes?

Being Saturday we didn’t have class today, but we did have some mandatory activities with everyone. Today was suppose to be the talent show, but not many people signed up since they told us about it so last minute, so they moved it to later next week in hope of more people joining. Instead we had a giant water fight.

It started out organized. Each class had a different color and a different tree that was their base. The teams also had 2 buckets of water at their base. To refill the buckets you send one person to the pump where their was a big bucket always filled. You were also not allowed to spray a person filling a bucket. Each person had to pin a piece of construction paper in their color on their front and back. Everyone had 1 of those water blaster things from the Dollar store that looks like a crayon. The goal was to spray other people on their paper and the team that won was the one with the least wet papers. You also could not be sprayed or spray other people while on your base, and we were suppose to have 3 rounds each for 10 minutes at a time.

None of this happened.

The paper ended up falling off really quickly, so there was no point in having different rounds. Plus people disregarded the base rules all of the time. It ended up being what I like to call “controlled chaos”. Everyone was running around spraying people, and having a great time. We were somewhat able to develop strategies with guarding the bucket, and how we protected ourselves, but then we just didn’t care.

This was not the first mandatory activity we have had, and most of them involved the staff trying to make us socialize with other people (The speed friending was the worst; we literally walked around in a circle then they would stop playing music, which was banging pots and pans, and the we had to talk to the person in front of us (there were 2 circles) about the 3 prompt questions). What they don’t realize is that we have made friends and do socialize with them.

For example, we also had a brief dance tonight before it started lightning and it got canceled. This was ironic because it got canceled on Thursday because they thought it would rain and it didn’t in the end. Originally the dance was going to be optional, but then they made it mandatory. Most of us would have preferred to go hang out with our friends while watching Netflix rather than sitting outside listening to music we don’t care about.

Kids are kids. Some may be a little different, but we still like having friends and will interact on our own. Sure activities are great, but I don’t think things always have to be so planned out.

This goes for school and life as well. Sometimes the best things to happen are the unanticipated ones. And at school, kids have the power to come up with some great things given the time and space to imagine and yes, fail.

Adults offer great wisdom and help, but what if kids did some of the planning every now and then?

(This again seems like one of those unfinished posts that also went in a ton of directions, but I write what I’m thinking at the time. And thoughts aren’t often coherent in writing or speech.)

 

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One thought on “Controlled Chaos

  1. Mr. Campbell sent this to me, and I thought that others might want to look at it as well: (The Value of Unstructured Play Time for Kids) http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/value-unstructured-play-time-kids-81177/#.U6Gi_RPcssx.facebook

    This also reminded me of another point I’ve brought up every now and then: why don’t we have a break during the school day? Just a 10-15 minute snack time/ cool off time. Some will argue that lunch time is for relaxing, but really there are always so many meetings and other things going on during lunch that most of the time people don’t actually eat lunch in the cafeteria anyway.

    In middle school we had this down time in the middle of the day, and it was really helpful. Everyone, including teachers, enjoyed this little rest period to regroup and maybe eat a little snack to get our energy up.

    This goes back to the “why do things disappear in high school?” discussion I’ve brought up a few times now.

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