Sunday, January 01, 2012

Everything I Know About Character, I Learned on the Playground

It’s a fact of life, if you play your hardest, your ass is going to hit the blacktop. If the fall is bad enough to break something, you’re allowed to cry for a minute or two. Otherwise, rub some dirt on it and get back in the game.

Most games are full of bad calls. You’d take the ones that go in your favor easy enough.  Don’t whine about the ones that go against you.

Nobody likes a snitch. Not even the teachers.

You’ll never feel good about a game you had to win by cheating.

Nobody likes to lose, but it’s way more fun with friends on your team to laugh with.

Not all of the “Teacher’s Rules” apply. Sometimes they’re just plain stupid. Never hurt a friend to follow a rule.

You’ll find a lot of friends to laugh with, and lots more when you have something to share. But the best friends are the ones who are still on your side, even when you’re dead wrong.

Nice guys really do finish last a lot of the time. But they’d feel a lot worse finishing first if they had to be a son of a bitch to do it.

Gum, candy, and any other contraband that’s against the rules always taste sweeter
when you’ve got a buddy to share it with.

A quick wit, when used properly, can garner you more attention than looks or money.

A quick wit, when not used properly, will teach you how to fight.

There is no “Time Out” in a fight. There are also no rules. The only real aim is to be the last one standing, so know what you’re getting into before you run your mouth or swing. (Fight stories always sound way cooler than a black eye feels).

Sometimes the kid picked last for a team will be the one who wins the game. Never discount anyone.

You’re not going to be the best at everything, but most of the kids around you are too busy worrying about how good they’re doing to notice anyway.

The most genuine people are the ones who do their good deeds by stealth. Don’t put too much faith in the guy who does you a favor, but reminds you of it in front of others.

Trying to make someone feel small makes you smaller.

Never pick on the weaker kid. You might get lucky enough to have a bunch of people around you that won’t stand up for him, but they’ll secretly wish a bigger kid pummels you later. Eventually they’ll all be bigger kids.

Sometimes doing the right thing will get you in trouble. Better to take a punishment than to have to live with not doing the right thing.

As you can tell, we cursed a bit on my playground. And to be honest, everything I learned about character I learned from my father first – life just has a way of reinforcing its truths. And it’s really never more honest than it was in the beginning, before people start holding their tongues to stay polite.

Which bit of character did you pick up on the playground?