Perhaps it's just that I am noticing it more.
When we set out to put together our one-year anniversary issue I didn't sit down and say, " Let's have lots of stories concerning children this issue." But somehow it ended up that way.
Don't get me wrong. Every issue we publish, I believe, is for the children. They may not know it-or even care-but when we discuss safety guidelines or maintenance practices, it's for the benefit of the children.
But this issue seems different. There are stories concerning children specifically. There is not as much about manufacturing or maintenance, although there is some. There is not as much about products and services, although there is some of that, too.
What there are-or appears to be-are more stories concerning children specifically. We have stories that discuss the psychological effect of play on children ("Experimenting in Happiness: How one trip to Disneyland affected three little girls," Page 22) and we have stories about disabled children ("Outdoor Play for All Children: Children with Disabilities benefit from Playgrounds," Page 20, and "Rocket Science: Early Intervention Center gives a head start," Page 32).
Even "Curtis' Corner," which is usually one of our more technical and more varied columns, discusses the importance of play on children and society in general.
And to tell you the truth, I am glad that this issue turned out with the stories that it did. I am glad that there is a beautiful child on the cover. I am glad that we are discussing, specifically, things that influence why we do the things we do in this industry.
Maybe a lot of that comes from the perspective I am learning. Soon, and perhaps even before this issue is delivered, my wife and I will welcome the addition of our first chi Id. We will become a "family," instead of just a "couple." And while there is a certain amount of anxiety that naturally comes to someone from this type of event, I am glad that there are articles like the ones in this issue that will help all of us prepare safer, and more fun places for my child to play. There is a lot of uncertainty that awaits my child and me (see "What to tell the children? Dealing with changing times throughout America," Page 30) and the happenings of the world leave me more scared to face the challenges of parenthood. But I also take comfort in knowing that as we go along we are all doing our best to make playgrounds and play, an important part of everyone's experience here on Earth.
The images that are in this issue are of children laughing, learning and loving. They are of children exploring the world around them, without worrying about guidelines or safety standards. That's our job as adults. Their job is to extend themselves. Their job is to be a pirate on top of the ship or a firefighter sliding down a pole to the fire truck. Their job is to be a child, full of imagination and innocence.
Our job is to continue to do what we've been doing- trying to make it possible for children to continue to do their part relating to playgrounds. And I am glad to see that we will. I am also glad to see that we are keeping sight of what is truly important in this big-money, highly technical field that we choose to work in the children.
Our publication has been around one whole year and the time has flown by. But I know there is more to write about, more stories to tell and more ideas to share.
And more concern to show for the children. Even mine.