I was a young kid in the late sixties. Generations and races clashed. Vietnam raged. Social revolution was in the air. I was too young to really understand it all. I just played in my sandbox. And a funny thing happened while I dug, piled, and patted sand alone and with my friends. I learned about life.
1. Don’t smack people in the head with your shovel. It hurts really bad, they cry alot, and you will usually get into trouble. There is one exception to this rule for bullies. Smack them hard. If necessary, smack them again. If they aren’t crying after the second smack, run for help as fast as you can.
2. Make sure the sand isn’t dirty. When there is trash and dirt in the sand, it is really hard to make anything. Sometimes you just need to get new sand.
3. It is usually a good idea to have a plan before you start. But you need to be flexible because sometimes things just don’t work – especially when you are digging deep tunnels, or trying to make really tall things.
4. Wing it and let your imagination flow once in awhile. Nothing happens if you just plan, sit, and stare at the sand. Eventually you get bored and it stops being fun, you give up, or it gets dark and you need to go inside and eat dinner.
5. Share your stuff – including your ideas, tools, toys, and snacks. Everybody gets involved and has more fun. Things get built faster, and often better. You make more friends, and they will play with you longer.
6. The sand can’t be too dry. If it’s not moist, nothing can be built, or it collapses really fast. I didn’t know what cohesiveness meant, but I quickly learned what would happen if the sand didn’t stick together.
7. Don’t be bossy, even though it’s your sandbox. Let your friends be in charge sometimes. Help them build their stuff. They have great ideas, too.
8. Be fair. Let everybody play, even if you must take turns. My sandbox only had room for about four people. Sometimes more than four of my friends wanted to play. Whenever I excluded someone, bad things happened – sometimes right away, and sometimes later after I had long forgotten about the incident.
9. Take care of your sand. Don’t throw it around – once it gets into the grass, its gone. And take the time to put the cover over it when you are done. A bad rainstorm will wash it all away. Then all you have is an empty box.
10. Be nice. Being mean can get you what you want sometimes – or so it may seem. But you find that your friends slowly disappear and don’t come back. Or you get smacked in the head with a shovel (see above).
These are the highlights of what I learned in the sandbox. Consider taking these ten thoughts and applying them in your own way to various aspects of your life – work, relationships with friends and family, personal projects, etc. I suspect that good things will happen…