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March 15 , 2011

Til The Streetlights Came On

Lessons Learned from Neighborhood Games


Til The Streetlights Came On - Lessons Learned from Neighborhood Games Weve become a nation of people who dont work and play particularly well with others.Its true.News accounts decry the problem daily with stories about workplace violence, harassment and road rage, to updates on skyrocketing levels of childhood obesity, concerns over the sedentary lifestyles of teens, and the newly coined Brittle Child Syndrome which tells of our nations youth and their inability to cope with the vicissitudes of adult life.This much is clear, when it comes to giving our all and getting alongweve lost a step or two in our culture. Its time to get those steps back by revisiting the immutable truths contained in 'Til The Streetlights Came On - Lessons Learned from Neighborhood Games The sandlotat one time literally a vacant lot among city buildings on whose ground youth etched out a ball field and immortalitynow stands euphemistically to characterize our experiences playing neighborhood games.For a select few, the sandlot was an incubator of their future athletic prowess.For most of us though, it was the classroom where we learned the life skills that shaped our view of ourselves and conditioned us to make contributions in our adult life.We learned to participate, to contribute, to innovate, to negotiate, to visioneer, to persevere, and to leave a legacy.We learned these lessons experientially, from peer-to-peer interactions and not from a politically correct script read in controlled environments. One of the most culturally significant developments over the last twenty five years has been the reduction, if not elimination, of the hallowed grounds of the neighborhood games.Not since before the industrial revolution and child labor laws first liberated American youth, have our city, suburban and even country roads been so devoid of children at play.The once common sound of a screen door spring stretching open, calling kids to play, has been replaced by the eerily cold sound of a dead bolt slipping into place.As significant as the reduction in physical activity is, the lesser identified loss is the loss of the interpersonal skills we gained from learning how to get along . . . so the game could go on! Part generational memoir, part business book and part self-help manual, 'Til The Streetlights Came On - Lessons Learned from Neighborhood Games will take tens of millions of Americans back to a time of stick ball, Johnny-on-the-Pony, Four-Square, I Call! and Ali-Ali-In-Free, as it teaches a new generation that Kick-the-Can does not mean someone passed away.Universally accessible memories, anecdotes and legends will have the readership reveling in the simple and profound meaning of unstructured, unsupervised - play.Each of the seven laws is presented as a series of the timelessly relevant mores which governed the lives of a nation of youth at play.The book connects to modern day life by ending each law with a series of actionable items that can impact an individual, a business and a community.So grab your skate key, your ball glove, your Chinese jump rope or the nearest Frisbee and lets reacquaint ourselves with, as Terrance Mann said of it, all that was good once and can be again.Its all waiting inside 'Til The Streetlights Came On - Lessons Learned from Neighborhood Games
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