Sometime ago, I opened my Bible to read the Apostle Paul’s exposé on love, as recorded in I Corinthians 13:11. As I read through, I reached to verse eleven, which states: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Although I had read I Corinthians 13:11 a number of times before, the reading that day overwhelmed my mind with reminiscences of some of my childhood activities. Like the Liberian man would say, “My heart went waaaay back.”
Indeed, when I was a child, I behaved as a child. Some were funny, others were silly, some were dangerous or unhealthy – although I happily engaged in them, others were cruel, etc. At times, some were a combination of all, or a few. I was not alone. Many Liberian children exhibited the same behavior in those days and, I believe, many still do the same today.
One thing that is certain is that I wouldn’t like to do in my adult life most of the things I did when I was a child, although I really liked doing them. Now, I even regret ever doing them in my childhood. I see why the Apostle Paul refers to them as childish things that are meant to be done away with once a person is of age.
Nonetheless, there are certain childhood practices or plays that I really miss. Concerning these, two things hold true. On the one hand, I truly miss some, but I am not willing to engage in them in my adult life. On the other hand, there are others, which I miss, and which I would still like to do, even though I am more than ten thousand eight hundred days old. Perhaps I am still a child. In fact, my mother tells me that I am.
I am sure that there are tens of thousands of Liberians out there – I mean, Liberians who are now adults, whether in Europe, North America, Liberia, etc. – who practiced at least one of the childhood plays that I am going to mention in this article. I do not have in mind Liberians who grew up in other lands, although there is some possibility that they, too, might have been involved in some form of these plays. The focus is on Liberians who grew up in the Liberian environment, as we knew it in those days. Are you ready to read through? Let’s get started, then.
1. Free Kick
When I was a child, I, like numerous other Liberian kids at the time, used to like joining what is called Free Kick. As the name suggests, it is a kind of practice in which you kick or knee your friend’s buttocks anytime and everywhere you choose, once the person being kicked or kneed forgets to place his hands – one or both – on his buttocks. Once you forgot to keep your hands on your buttocks – or if you were a forgetful person – your buttocks would suffer it. I remember going with my hands on my buttocks, like a person who was pressed to use the toilet. If you were in a position that incapacitated you to place any of your hands on your buttocks, an alternative was to cross your fingers, which was the same as keeping your hands on your butt. It was funny. In those days, once we had joined the Free Kick play, we had to be especially careful and vigilant, watching here and there, for situations that would enable us to unmercifully kick our friends’ buttocks, or that would help us to prevent our friends from kicking our butt. I still suffer from a severe back pain caused by a powerful knee given me by one of my childhood friends – Roff. He now lives in Germany. A few months ago, I reminded him about it during a telephone conversation. We laughed.
Free Kick is a risky play, but I still can’t fully explain why we enjoyed doing it so much. “We’re in Free Kick” was the expression used to indicate that there was a binding agreement between the two friends involved in this play. Kicking your friends’ butt with a great force was a lot of fun for me. However, similar to what the Apostle Paul has written, Free Kick is one of the childish things that I have put away.
To be continued…
Seriously, my people, aren’t these points to ponder?