What’s So Spiritual about Monkey Bars?

By David Osterhaus

Do you remember playing outside at the park for hours when you were a child? Growing up, I spent hours and hours on playgrounds. And I am not ashamed to admit that I firmly believe I’m still 100% capable of crossing monkey bars and jumping from a swing set.

Recently I took my daughter to the Sussex Village Park. It’s a beautiful park, with areas for toddlers, elementary-age kids, and a ten-foot tall set of monkey bars for… well, 20-something-year-old children.

My wife and I eyed the large monkey bar set and she, being the wonderful and ladylike person that she is, boasted that she could cross them faster than I could. I will not comment on her performance, but I managed to cross the bars successfully on the first, okay, second attempt. Although to be honest, I was slightly concerned that my almost 200-pound frame might permanently damage a couple of the bars.

After successfully crossing, I stood up a little taller, rolled my shoulders back, and felt very proud of my performance, even though I was gasping for breath.

Later, as I reflected on this event, I realized that earlier I would have boasted in my abilities. I would have remembered how I had played a long time ago, and convinced myself that I could cross those bars with finesse.

There isn’t anything particularly spiritual about a set of monkey bars, but my day at the park helped me to remember that I was a different person yesterday. Today I can’t do the things I accomplished yesterday, but I can set my sights on new goals.  I am so blessed to have children and I love that even small moments like going to the park can be teaching moments.