Step 2: Let children know they can use it.
Step 3: Turn your back for the briefest of moments.
Beautiful bucolic fall day. Sun shining, birds singing, crisp air. As the inflatable sought form on the pavement, rosy-cheeked, tow-headed tots and youth lined up champing at the bit to have the okay to enter. "Is it ready yet?" "Can we go on now?" "When can we use it?" "This is for US?!?"
They marvelled at this amazing engineering feat. "It's HUGE!!!" "Look at the climbing wall!!" "I'm going to spend the rest of my LIFE on this!" We gave them rules: Two people at a time on the slide. Watch out for the little ones. Have Fun. We'll be watching from right over here.
Happy shrieks filled the air. There was much giggling and skipping around to use the course. Then, the children devolved. And by children, I mean the boys. After 15 minutes, boys between the ages of 10 and 13, chose the top of the slide as their 'castle,' refused to let any girls up and gleefully tossed smaller boys over the edge to their 'death.' "HAH! You're DEAD! We just pushed you over the cliff!!"
|Lord of the Flies 1963 - directed by Peter Brook|
15 minutes. Civility was lost in 15 minutes. Smiles and giggles gave way to the tears and hiccupping sobs of small-to-medium-sized children. "They boys w... w... won't... let us up there!!" "He p...p... pushed us over the top of the slide!" "I don't w...w...want to worship the severed pig's head!"
We then had to install several young adults at the top of the slide to ensure that chaos would no longer reign. 15 minutes folks. It wasn't hours, it wasn't days. They weren't lost on an island. They were within sight of ALL their parents. It took 15 minutes. Thank God I had the conch.