The Playground is Open!

Can you come out to play?  It’s a new year, time to get back out on the playground and have some fun.  As I said in a recent article, I’m declaring 2021 to be the year of the Playground Saint.

What is a playground saint?  A person who is actively striving to be the person God made them to be, while at the same time not taking themselves too seriously, and having a little fun along the way.

I likened Playground Saints to be a combination of the scarecrow, tin man, and lion from the Wizard of Oz.  Playground Saints use their brains to seek, find, live, and share truth.  They display heart by living the greatest commandments and the golden rule.  They demonstrate courage by doing the right things, in the right way, for the right reasons.  And like Dorothy, they know there is no place like home, where home is making their way back to heaven to live for an eternity with the Creator.

More specifically a Playground Saint is a person who is:

  1. Striving to be their best God-given authentic self;
  2. Seeking, finding, and developing their God-given talents;
  3. Using their talents to provide value to others;
  4. Behaving virtuously;
  5. Determined to get a little better every day;
  6. Inspiring, encouraging, and helping others to do the same, and;
  7. Having some fun along the way.

Ultimately, the goal of the Playground Saint is to live a life worthy of achieving eternal life in heaven.  They do that by placing their faith in God and striving to live the life He has in mind for them.  A life of service to Him and others.

If this is the type of person you want to be, you are in the right place.

I definitely want to be a Playground Saint.  But I know I can’t be successful on my own.  We were made for community with each other. We each have a unique part to play in making the world a better place.  But none of us can do that alone.  We need to help and support one another.

I believe part of my reason for being currently is to help facilitate the development and growth of a community of striving Playground Saints.  A place where we can learn from each other and encourage one another to strive to become what we are meant to be, saints.

My initially name for this community was Playground Saints AlivePlayground signifying fun and being yourselves as you were back in your early days.  Saints meaning striving to be and give your absolute best for the benefit of others. And Alive conveying that you are living life to the fullest as God intends.  I also liked the acronym, PSA, commonly thought of as a Public Service Announcement.  We will certainly be doing the public a great service by striving to be fun-loving and service oriented Playground Saints.

But as I started writing this a new name came to mind, the Community of Playground Saints, or COPS for short.  That also seems to be an appropriate acronym since the job of cops is to protect and serve.  Playground Saints are definitely in the business of protecting each other from the evil one and from the bullies of this world, and to serving God and each other.

I like them both so I leave the choice to you.  Please reply to this with either PSA or COPS and we’ll go with the majority for the official title.

So here is what I am planning to do.  I am going to write more frequent, but shorter articles throughout this year.  They will each provide ideas about how you can live the life of a Playground Saint, and give you simple activities designed to incorporate the ideas into your daily living.  The articles will likely center around the themes of faith, freedom, fortitude, and fun.

Actually, what I will share with you is what I am thinking about, and what I am doing.  My hope is that you will find this useful in your personal journey.  I would expect that some of what I will share you will find useful, some not, and some you can improve upon.  I certainly welcome your feedback and ideas.

Again, my hope is that we make this a group effort.  I envision us slowly growing a community of actively striving Playground Saints.  We are all in this together.  I will raise topics and provide my thoughts, but the greater value may come from us sharing our personal experiences, observations, and ideas with each other.  The easiest and most convenient way for us to do that currently is through establishing a private Facebook group.  I will do that and tell you how to join once we settle on an official name.

I am also considering doing short videos to support the articles for those who would rather watch than read.  Making videos is one of the ways I am challenging myself this year.  You will no doubt get at least a few laughs at my expense in the process:-)  Plus this will give me the ability to interview others about what they are doing in their saintly journey, maybe even some of you.  Who knows, there may even be a podcast in our future.

Do you remember what your parents and teachers would say to you when you ran outside to play as a kid?  Be good, play nice, and have fun.  Something like that, right?  That’s what I envision for us.  I would add do good to the list as well.  Actually, my hope is that we move beyond good to great … or better yet, from good, to great, to Playground Saint!  Enough for now, let’s play!

Personally, I am determined to start every day this year with a serenity mindset.  I do this by reciting the Serenity Prayer to myself immediately when I wake up in the morning.  The words serve to remind me about what is important in life, and more importantly, what is not.

Most people know the short version:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And, the wisdom to know the difference.

I prefer the long version written by Reinhold Niebuhr, an American Theologian, sometime in the 1940’s.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

Often times nowadays I find myself using an even shorter version by simply saying, “God grant me serenity” many times throughout each day.  It is hard to escape the craziness of the world right now.  But through this simple phrase I can at least remind myself that the ways of God will prevail in the end.  It sure is better than the “Serenity Now” mantra used to stave off anger in a popular Seinfeld episode.  There in the end, serenity now resulted in insanity later. Let’s stick with the supremely happy in the end version.

So here is your first challenge.  Recite the long version of the Serenity Prayer three times a day (morning, noon, and night) for at least one week.  This should allow you to memorize it in a week.  Then you will have all versions available to you at all times when needed.  Thereafter I would encourage you to recite the long version early every morning, and the short, or even shorter version as needed throughout the day.

I hope you will join our community of striving Playground Saints.  In the meantime, let’s all work hard to do good, be good, get better every day, and remember to have a little fun along the way.  More to come within the week…

Happy New Year!  Scott

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