Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Power of a Quarter

I tell ya T, it was mayham!

Paulie "walnuts" Gualtieri often spoke unintentional words of wisdom. This time his words applied to a scenario where 14 very young children were running around the backyard through the water sprinkler.

All of them were dialed up to "11" with no signs of slowing down. They were running around, laughing, giggling, and just being kids. It was great!

But they were a little too loud for the ladies to talk so I grabbed a quarter from my coin bowl and went into action. I gathered them all around and asked them if they would play "Chinese School". It is a terrifically simple game... have the kids line up facing the "teacher" and tell them that they are having a "test" (to pick which closed fist has the quarter in it)... and if they pass the test then they "graduate" to the next grade by taking a step forward. The ones to reach the end of the yard first were the winning graduates. They all quietly got in line and played.

I used to play this game as a kid in Bensonhurst, but rather than taking a step, we usually played on a staircase and we would move up a step when we graduated.

Later on, as an adult, I would often play this game at children's birthday parties and have upwards of 30 children quiet, still, and entertained, with the aid of a simple 25 cent piece. The other parents would look in amazement as their "uncontrollable Johnny" stood quietly and eagerly awaiting his turn to guess the hand.

Tricks and games like these are a lost art these days. as I enter the final stage of parenting (teens on to independence) I feel sorry for the parents today who are in the raising toddler, preschool, and elementary stages who are doing that without these little sanity-saving tips.


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