When we think of soldiers, most of us picture the fighting machines that these men have been trained to be, and we would not be wrong in most respects, but what we sometimes fail to realize is the fact that a soldier is a person with a deep love of human life. They don’t go to war because they want to be trained killers, but rather they go to war because they want to preserve life, and a way of life. They see that there are people in this world who are being abused, beaten, and starved into submission…or worse yet killed for refusing to submit. There are evil people in this world, who somehow feel that they have the right to control other human lives. They want servants, or they want to sell people, or just own people. Soldiers go to war, because they see these evil actions for the wrong that they are, and they can’t stand by and let it just happen.
So yes, in that respect, our picture of the trained killer is exactly right, but what we so often miss is the human side of the soldier. We miss the man or woman who has left their own children, nieces, or nephews behind to go and fight for children in some other country, so that they might be able to live out their lives in the same safety that the children, nieces, and nephews of the soldier are able to live in back home. The problem is that we don’t often realize what things they do for those children in other nations. We don’t often see the moments of playing with the children. We don’t see the children who come up to the soldiers, because they feel safe around them…even with the possibility of gunfire at any moment. They still feel safer near the soldiers than they do on their own.
And for our soldiers, who are so lonely for their own children, nieces and nephews, it is a nice break from the reality of war, with all its ugliness, even if it is just once in a while, and even if it is just for a few moments. Maybe they can take a few moments and pretend that this child they are playing with is their own child at home. Maybe they can pretend that they are pushing their own child in a swing, on a merry-go-round, or just giving them a simple hug. Perhaps those few moments that they get once in a while, can take them away from the worry for their own safety, or the fact that in a little while they will be faced with an enemy, who they will have to kill, or they will be killed. War is a hard place to be, and a life event that no soldier can ever forget, so it is nice, for just a few moments, to be able to spend a little time with a child, to get away from the war and the ugliness that lies within it. Sometimes we, the people back home need to just consider the sacrifice our soldiers make, and be glad that they have a moment of relief, even if it is just once in a while.
If you were ever a kid, I’m sure you have been on a merry-go-round. Still, I doubt if the one you were on was exactly like this old merry-go-round from days gone by. I have never seen one that had actual chairs on it. I showed the picture to Bob, and he thought you might be able to hang on better. Maybe, but it would not be something I would be willing to test. You see, I hate merry-go-rounds…and any other ride that spins in a circle, usually far too fast, and definitely far too long. Even as a little kid, I got off of the merry-go-round almost as soon as I got on, and I’m quite sure my face had changed from pink to green. I can’t say why that bothers me, but it always has. I can do other rides, like Roller coasters…provided they don’t incorporate spin into the mix, and I can do a ride like the Ferris Wheel, that goes up and over…just not a spinner.
While I am not the person to ask about how fun a merry-go-round is, I can tell you that there are lots of kids over many years who have had the best of times on the merry-go-round, and the funny thing was that it didn’t do anything fancy. In reality it simply let a child be twirled without the parent having to be dizzy too, another good thing for me, because that was almost as bad as the merry-go-round.
Most people don’t have the issues I do with merry-go-rounds, and for them this would be a lot of fun, and in reality none if these kids are trying to get off of the ride. As a child, I remember all of my cousins running for the merry-go-round at the family picnics. And I know my girls liked them too. And if they could get an adult to push them so that they didn’t have to make it go, they were in 7th Heaven. Of course, the adult usually got worn out pretty quickly, and the kids were on their own again. Nevertheless, kid leg power worked pretty good too, and those who weren’t having to push had a really great time.
I checked into the history of the merry-go-round, or carousel, and was amazed to find out that the earliest known record of a carousel was in 500 AD. I couldn’t believe that. Of course the first one was different than what we see today, and had a very different use. It had baskets suspended from a central pole, and was use to train soldiers for battle. Wow, I guess I can see that, but it’s still very odd. I think I prefer the more modern version, whether it is the simple style in a park, or the one we see at the fair each year, with horses and carts.
There are few things in the life of a toddler that they enjoy more than a pony ride on a grandparent’s foot. It is the first type of ride most kids get to take…almost like their first carnival ride. It is amazing that such a simple ride can thoroughly delight a child. It is such a simple thing to do and yet it can give the rider hours of fun…if your leg could hold out that long that is. Nevertheless, the child will continue to as you to “do it again” for hours.
We seem to mimic some of the rides we loved as children in the play with our toddlers a lot. The merry-go-round is done by swinging the child around until they are dizzy and delighted. The airplane is done by lying on the floor and holding the child’s hand while lifting them with your feet into the air. They may not know what we are imitating, because they are too young, but this type of play is passed down from generation to generation.
I remember that JD really loved to get these rides when he was little, and he would ask anyone in the room to give him another ride. Sometimes he would have to go from person to person as one leg or another would get tired, or the adult would get bored with the game. It’s funny how some kids like the pony ride more than others. JD loved his pony rides.
Today, JD rides a different kind of pony…or should I say horse power. JD rides and has raced motorcycles, along with his little brother, Eric. And lets not forget the many cars and pickups that have made their way into JD’s life. He will spend hours working on a vehicle…often into the wee hours of the morning, when he doesn’t have to work the next day. Sometimes, I think he is obsessed with engines, but I suppose that is not all that unusual, given that his dad also loves engines, cars, and motorcycles.
Today, JD has taken on the role of the ride giver with the little ones we have in the family. He is always roughhousing with his cousins, be they little or not. My grandkids have all reaped the benefits of JD’s playful nature…although the adults have wished they would all settle down from time to time. I don’t blame those early rides for all the roughhousing though, because sometimes that is just how a person is. JD is a kid at heart, and I think that as long as there are little ones around him, he will jump right in there and play with them, so…move the furniture back…if you want to keep it in one piece that is.