Point of View: The Sign in the Sand Box


By Susan Lamontagne

Once upon a time there was a sand box. It was a small box, but it was cute and clean and soft and warm, especially when the sun was out.

One day, three children arrived to play in the sand box. They had so much fun that three more children showed up to play. The six children had fun for a while, but then the first three decided that the box had become too crowded, so they posted a sign: “No playing during play hours.”

The next day the second three children showed up to play and saw the sign. “What is that supposed to mean?” they asked.

“We were here first,” said one of the first three children. “And six is too many for such a small sand box, so we decided that you can’t play here.”

“But you don’t own the sand box,” responded one of the second three children.

“Well, we were here first and we decide the rules and you were bothering us,” responded one of the first three.

“Then where are we supposed to play?” asked the second three.

“That is not our problem,” responded the first three.

Outraged, one of the second three picked up a hand full of sand and threw it in the face of one of the first three. The first three responded in kind and before you knew it, sand got in kids’ eyes and ears and hair and clothes and there wasn’t much left in the box.

All the kids were now very unhappy.

A teacher spotted what was happening and walked over to the children.

“What’s going on here?” she asked.

The kids started pointing fingers at each other and shouting things like “He started it.”

The teacher then said what most reasonable adults will in a situation like this: “It doesn’t matter who started it. You need to work it out.” And, “We don’t throw sand at each other. It’s not nice.”

“Our sand box has been ruined,” cried one of the children.

“Well why don’t you work together to fix it,” suggested the teacher.

“How can we do that?” asked another one of the children.

Since the teacher was not a helicopter parent she simply said, “What do you think you might need to do to fix it?”

The children thought for a moment and then one of them said, “We need to get the sand back in the box!”

All the children agreed and soon stood together in the box brushing the sand off their clothes and out of their hair and back into the box. Then they started to scoop up sand on the outside of the box and put that back in as well.

Despite their joint efforts, they couldn’t get the sand box exactly the way it had been.

Then three more children showed up to see what was going on.

“Can we play?” they asked.

“Absolutely not!” shouted one of the kids in the box. “This box is too small and now there isn’t enough sand to go around.”

And then they posted three more signs that read, “No playing ever!”

“Ok. You’re it,” declared one of the new kids as he tagged a kid in the box and then ran off in an attempt to instigate a game of tag. At that, another kid in the box whipped out a paper and pencil and wrote the tagger a ticket.

The ticket read: “VIOLATION. Pay $50 for playing in sand box. No playing allowed.”

The ticketer handed the ticket to the tagger.

The tagger looked at the ticket. “You realize it’s recess and we’re kids?” the tagger asked the ticketer.

“Yup. No playing allowed,” said the ticketer. “I don’t make the rules, I only enforce them.”

At that exact moment, the bell rang and the teachers told the children that recess was over.

“Recess can’t be over,” cried one of the kids. “We never got to play.”

Want to know what happened next?

How did the teacher respond? What happened to the signs? Was the sand box restored? Did the children ever play again?

Can’t we all get along?

Find out in the upcoming Spring blockbuster featuring “parking spots” in the role of “sand.”

You can figure out the rest.