Select Page

executing Playful Decisions…

by | Jan 30, 2021 | Cat Stevens, Decisions, execute

My 14th birthday came near the end of the 9th grade, as I was about to head into High School.  One of the Decisions my parents made was to push me up an entire year… and in Texas where kids were often held back so they were older/bigger for Football that meant many of my “peers” were nearly 2 years older/bigger.  But today it didn’t matter – I had Decided to spend the whole afternoon fishing.  We lived on the south side of Tyler, where just across an old Farm to Market road was mostly wilderness… and a huge lake that had been abandoned after it was stocked with fish… nearly 30 years before… 

… there were now paths to it both for motorcycles and for some offroad vehicles, and kids all were regularly speeding out there to race around a makeshift track.  I followed them … on my Schwinn bicycle … you can’t make this up.  My parents forbade me to ride or get a motocross motorcycle… so I invented MotoCross bikes before they were a thing 😉  Mine was a monster – and not like you think.  A HUGE solid frame, with massive tires it was more what would we now call a “Beach Cruiser”, but when I was on it, it was as good as any Husqvarna, Yamaha, or Suzuki that they would race on the same trails. 

Steven Giorgio was raised in the heart of London, the West End Theater district to be specific, and was regularly working in the family restaurant throughout his childhood. His childhood was executed with concrete, traffic, and work… and he realized that he was helping his family survive, but also that this type of work was not what he wanted to do.  He noticed that just around the corner were theaters and people who appeared to be playing: making art, plays, music, etc… and Decided to head in that direction. 

As he was becoming the Cat Stevens we now all know, he started to realize that his upbringing was VERY different than most of his audience.  He thought building larger jets, even going into space, while “progress”, was not good for the Earth, or more importantly, its inhabitants.  He particularly understood the need for play and rest, having nearly lost his life to the “progress” of his career nearly executing him.  I should point out that we are already a week into his music… and we are only on the 2nd of 4 triple-platinum albums in a row.  He had SO much to say, I suspect from lying in that bed for a year… and his Decision to make a difference if he was able to get up and out again… 

We had Decided that we would celebrate my birthday and moving up to high school by cooking up a fish dinner for the family.  My friend and I had dug up worms the night before, and knowing the way out and back like the back of my hand, I rushed home, grabbed my pole and we executed our plan.  There was a particular place that was away from all of the noise of the motorcycles, etc… and therefore more conducive for fishing… and boy did we.  At the end of the afternoon, we came back with nearly 30 – they are small fish so you need a bunch to make a meal. And the best part was – we did it – without adults… actually they had no idea even where we were… some vague notion of “in the woods”… 

It is interesting to see young parents rediscovering “free-range” parenting… i.e. letting kids off their tight leashes to make mistakes of their own, skin their knees, and learn that life is not something you can bubble wrap… or execute only in a virtual world.  I hope if we have learned one thing with our Decisions in the last year, it is that kids need to be outside, explore, and interact with each other.  And we know now that the chances of serious issues are actually higher in isolation… and outdoors, they also develop a love and respect for the Earth that will serve us all best…

… but now I just sound old and out of touch.  Fair enough.  You Decide how you want to execute the new life of this New Year, but I can tell you that I will continue to push people to Decide to try things – play at anything and then see what you have learned… versus talking about it.  In my work with leaders, it is constantly exploring for their small “play” voices that they may have left behind after years of hearing how risky things are.  Where did you leave your voice?  Is it by the lake, near your favorite fishing hole?  Probably not, but for me, the travels out and back to that lake defined the exploration, and also the care for the Earth that Cat was calling for.  For the child in you do you know… Where do the Children Play? 

Well, I think it’s fine buildin’ jumbo planes
Or takin’ a ride on a cosmic train
Switch on a summer from a slot machine
Yes, you can get what you want, if you want it
‘Cause you can get anything

I know we’ve come a long way
We’re changin’ day to day
But tell me where do the children play?

Well, you roll on roads over fresh green grass
With your heavy loads pumping petrol gas
And you make ’em long and you make ’em tough
And you just go on and on and it seems you can’t get off

I know we’ve come a long way
We’re changin’ day to day
But tell me where do the children play?

Crack the sky, scrapers fill the air
But you keep on buildin’ higher
‘Til there’s no more room up there?

Will you make us laugh?
Will you make us cry?
Will you tell us when to live?
Will you tell us when to die?

I know we’ve come a long way
We’re changin’ day to day
But tell me where do the children play?
Tell me where do the children play?

Well, I think it’s fine buildin’ jumbo planes
Or takin’ a ride on a cosmic train
But, where do the children play?
Just tell me where do the children play?

 

Share This