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Playing Nice In The Sandbox...


Playing Nice In The Sandbox

It is important to abide by the rules of the sandbox:

Throwing sand is never OK.

Being mean will eventually result in you playing, unhappily, on your own.

No taking of other peoples buckets without asking

No kicking or breaking other peoples sandcastles

Playing nice with others is best.

I play nice, ask my friends. I do sometimes want to throw sand, but I know better. I am good at making friends and helping everyone in the sandbox to get along, even when there are meanies who come to play.

This is the story of what happened in one particular sandbox…

Once upon a time a group of my friends decided to build their own sandbox. At first it was just a big old pile of sand, but we found some wood and built sides and places to sit. We knew how to make a sandbox because we had all played together in a good one, before. This was exciting. This was ours. We were the in-charge people. Well one of my friends was really in charge of us, but we all did stuff together.

Our sandbox was really popular and we had to make it bigger so that more of our little friends could join us. Every day there were lots of happy sounds coming from the playground. It was fun to play there.

Then, one day, the people who were helping us be in charge said, “No, we are in charge,” and “so there” and stuff like that. Some sand might have been thrown. There were tears.

The new in-charge people got mad at the big girl who was our friend, who we thought was in charge, but now, really wasn’t. She did throw sand. She was in so much trouble, she was totally thrown out of the sandbox and could not play with us at all. All the shouting and stuff was really bad, but the rest of us kept building stuff and letting everyone have fun.

With the big girl gone, I was told by the in-charge people that I was now in charge of playing in the sandbox with this one other girl. We had to share and it was not for keepsies.

Then, this one day, a new boy came to play, and the people in charge made him the boss of my friends and me. He was kinda mean and said he didn't like the stuff we had built. We tried building new stuff together but he wasn't very good at explaining what he wanted, so he got all mad and told the in-charge people, and I got in trouble.

I tried really hard to make stuff like he wanted, but he would just kick it over and say it was no good. I really wanted to throw sand at him, but I tried super hard to be good. I even let him play with all my friends and even with my toys that I had had for a long time, but he just didn't understand the play nice rules.

Two of my friends went to sandboxes far, far, away and I don't get to play with them, ever, any more. Then my bestest, my dearest, friend, who was very old, left the sandbox to go to heaven, and I don't get to play with him any more, either. So I was the last of the friends left in the sandbox, feeling all on my own.

The mean boy then went and found a friend from another sandbox and gave him all my toys. He said I didn't want them anyway. But I did. I was very sad.

I told the in-charge people that I was not happy, but they liked this new boy. I wanted to tell them that he was a kaka poopoo head but I would just get in more trouble for saying bad things. The rest of the people in the sandbox didn't want him to get mad at them, so they made out like they were the bestest of friends, but it was mostly pretend.

My mom said that, if I wanted to be happy, I was going to have to find another sandbox, and a whole new group of friends. I looked and looked, but when I found a new one, the people there would not let me play. "We are all full up," they would say, though sometimes I could see a space that I would love to play in.

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This made me very sad. I always played nice and made sure everybody got along, so why did they not want to play with me? None of the in-charge people would tell me.

A week or so ago, I went to a super sandbox place, where all the in-charge people were looking for new people to come and play in their sandboxes.

I was really excited; I spoke to lots of in-charge people, who said they would love to talk to me. So I waited, very patiently, but none of them called me or wanted to speak with me. Why? I wondered.

After waiting for a really, really, long time, I decided to ask one of the in-charge people that I kinda knew. He was friendly and all, but he told me that no one was ever let me play in their sandboxes. I asked why, I mean I play nice and don't throw sand and I love to build, but he said that didn't matter. I had somehow caught the "reputation". This was a bad thing, like the mumps, or cooties. No one wants to play with you when you have the reputation.

I asked how I had got the reputation, and the in-charge guy said it was 'cause I had been close to the big girl that had argued with her in-charge people and got sent away. She got the reputation from that and we caught it from her. It is very, very, bad to get into fights with in-charge people 'cause that's how you catch the reputation. That was why all my friends weren't in the sandbox any more, because we had been too close to the big girl.

Now, I have been away from the sandbox for a very long time, so I felt good, no symptoms at all, so I was surprised to find I still had the reputation. I asked the in-charge guy how long the infection would last. He just lowered his head, and said quietly, “always.” It seems that unless you go far, far, away, where people are resistant to the reputation, it can’t get better by itself.

I am not going to ever be allowed to play in a sandbox again.

I don't want to go far, far, away, so I have to be a big boy and find a whole new way to play. I’m not quite sure where to look, so, I'm hoping my friends will help me find a different place to play, or that they will let me play with them at their place.

After all, the reputation is not catching, it’s just a sandbox thing, and I really do know how to play nice...


Dear Hub reader,

If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life...

Available directly from:



ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on June 07, 2012:

Former SMAA Mom,

Thank you, and I hope you find a happy sandbox for your children. Fingers crossed, I may have a new sandbox to play in soon...

A former SMAA Mom on June 07, 2012:

I had no idea. The boy was, and still is mean... Too mean to have my precious children around him. We are out of there this year. You deserved better.

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on August 01, 2011:


Thank You. I miss it too.


smaamom on August 01, 2011:

The sandbox is not the same without you. The boy in charge IS mean. All the love and care has just gone. We miss you!


ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on April 19, 2011:


I'm sure God can forgive my impatience - s/he has etertiny, my time is rather more limited!


Carol Schillne on April 19, 2011:

You do play nice, and don't ever change! You were, and are, an amazing influence on our children and our school. So many things you planted are still growing. Don't dismay! God blessed us with your talents for many years. We miss you!!

Keep the faith. God has good plans for you (Jer. 29:11)

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on April 08, 2011:


So my tale certainly resonated with you! I really feel that my time as an educator is over, and I actually feel ok with that. I just need to find that next opportunity, and move on...


mysterylady 89 from Florida on April 08, 2011:

Chris, I retired at 53 but with different reasons. I planned to stay out a year and then return so that i could teach 10 years under the "new" retirement plan that included social security. (I also must admit that I was angry over my next year's schedule!) Returning did not happen. I got hired by DoDDS to teach 8th graders in Japan, and my love of teaching turned to hate.

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on April 04, 2011:


I certainly feel that way, but...


Jarhead on April 04, 2011:

Tell the people in charge to bend over and stick it where the sun don't shine


ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on April 01, 2011:


(Mystery solved)

I'm always happy to have my links forwarded, the more readers the better, but retiring at 52?

Who would buy that?

On my salary?

Mr. L

SMFamily on April 01, 2011:

You probably already know, but the official line is that you retired. I have forwarded this link to the people I know. I don't know if it will help, or if they will read between the lines, but I hope it does some good.


ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 31, 2011:


Of course you may, and because you asked so nicely, you can be line leader.


ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 31, 2011:


I worked without a contract and felt that from Fr. Sillers death onwards that doing anything that could be construed as 'throwing sand' would mean instant dismissal. I had made a personal promise to Father, and took the moral high road, negotiating my exit at the end of the year with plaudits, rather than leaving in turmoil. The school could not weather another administrative storm. I did not want to hurt the institution, or the kids. So I felt I had no choice but to walk away with nothing after sixteen years.

I thought I finished with my head held high. I did not realize that I had signed the death warrant for my career.

Mr. L

SMFamily on March 31, 2011:

Interesting to read the other side. We were told you left because you wanted to pursue other projects. Our family was not happy that you did go and wonder why did you not tell us what was really going on?

mysterylady 89 from Florida on March 31, 2011:

This is a great allegory! I agree that you should build your very own fort!

If you do, may I come to play??

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on March 31, 2011:

You poor fellow. Well, get to work designing some crazy art work for a CafePress store!

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 31, 2011:


Don't know if word of the Golden State's demise has reached Texas, but they are going to close the college and only open on alternate Wednesdays for people with last name initials A - C. All nurses will be imported from England and the Philipines, and degree burning ceremonies will be held in the city centers.

There are now just three people working in the entire state ( one of them is off sick) the rest of us are either retired of want her job)

So, not really Golden, but truly a State...


Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on March 30, 2011:

Yes, I realize that the health care schools want RN's, but there aren't any. You can persuade them that what they REALLY need are people who know HOW to teach! RN's don't know how to teach. Hell, they barely know how to empty a bed pan with the directions on the bottom!

I swear to god if one more nurse sends me an unlabeled specimen, I'll throw it back in his/her face. You would not believe how stupid nurses can be! I've actually heard a nurse tell a patient who asked for some pain pills to go brush his teeth and that would take the pain away! Seriously, I don't want to get old just because there are no qualified nurses to take care of me!

You have a master's in Ed. Convince them that that's what they need! Because it is.

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 30, 2011:

New plan Keith,

We are building a Fort, and / or treehouse...

This is going to be awesome!


attemptedhumour from Australia on March 30, 2011:

We only drink Cappuccinos these days and i have gloves.

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 30, 2011:


You are fully accepted into my fort, bring nibbles...


Nell Rose from England on March 30, 2011:

Hi, I had a b...h in my sandbox! unfortunately for me I never threw a tantrum, and she managed to get me out! If I could go back and do it again, I would shove the sand right up her nose! lol

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 30, 2011:

brewski time guy

(Took me a little while to figure that out!)

You have obviously been in some nasty play fights in your sandbox. You are totally allowed to come to my fort when I build it...


ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 30, 2011:


Damn fine idea. I'll build a fort. My hub friends can come and play and the meanies can have their stupid sandbox. I hope cats poo in it.


ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 30, 2011:


Thanks for the friendship and support (and your emails)


brewskitimeguy from Maine on March 30, 2011:

Sounds like you didn't play by the basic rules of staying included in the sandbox,,the one tht says it is not what you know but who can fill in the blank. I didn't learn that rule either nd it took me twice as long to move up the ladder. Somehow having the best numbers in the company don't matter, but knee pads due. I lucked out though, a higher up person saw what I had done over the past six years and put me on her team. All I can say is, take all that you have learned and experienced and find someone who see the value in your uniqueness. Who needs a sandbox anyways!!

sunflowerbucky from Small Town, USA on March 30, 2011:

I'm with Sue, build a fort. Forts are cooler. And as soon as I start getting some heroine worship, I'll let you know how I handle it. As long as I don't get heroin worship, cause that would just be weird.

Susan Mills from Indiana on March 30, 2011:

Chris- I have goosebumps and tears in my eyes.( Goosebumps really hurt when they get on the cornea!!)

Forget the friggin' sandbox, they can have it. Go build a cool fort. They'll be all jealous-like and you can say, sorry, sandbox people are not allowed in my fort!

It's too bad grown-ups are so un-grown-up like, kids often are the ones who take the lead in doing what's right.

I can't wait until we're saying "congratulations!" to you... just like we're saying in our minds right now to Bucky. Of course, with Bucky, I follow it with "Bless your heart."

PS. This is an awesome piece of writing.

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 30, 2011:


Can you handle the hero(ine) worship?


sunflowerbucky from Small Town, USA on March 30, 2011:

Well the money I am earning is not enough to make a living,but thanks for the congrats as it is nice to realize a dream,no matter how small!

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 30, 2011:


It is fascinating that only fellow hubbers have responded (my new sandbox?) while my friends from the ex-sandbox are unusually quiet...

I don't want to tattle, but Sue says you are actually earning money in this sandbox - so, way to go!


sunflowerbucky from Small Town, USA on March 30, 2011:

This sandbox business is getting very tricky. Used to be, if you were a good builder and didn't throw sand, you were a shoe in. Now you spend months on end waiting for an opening and no luck! I really think the only people who will survive this crappy sandbox situation are those who start their own sandboxes. I hear ya, I'm in the same box. Or, out of the same box. (Great hub:)

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 30, 2011:


There are so many vacancies at the pay-per-play colleges out here for nurse instructors, just that they want that pesky RN thing....

And then there are all those weird people working in the lab...


ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 30, 2011:


I think I might be allergic to physical labor, I break out in a sweat and get sores on my hands, so I'd last, oh I don't know, like ten seconds, mixing cement for you...

As to falling in love with bricks, might be a bit of an overshare there my friend (Hi, my name is Keith and I love bricks, Hi Keith...)

Bit old for a tea-boy, but hey, you never know


Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on March 30, 2011:

It seems that the reputation extends to many other industries and is very contagious. Fortunately, I picked a field where no matter what "reputation" I have makes no difference. I am more or less indispensable. So I recommend the health care field. There is a huge need for people to educate nurses! Perhaps you could try it. Just teaching them to read and follow instructions would be a HUGE help! And how to screw the lid down on a specimen cup too.

attemptedhumour from Australia on March 30, 2011:

At least your sand box has got the sea washing up on it's shore. That was a great piece of writing Chris, maybe you need to be more like the big girl and kick a few doors down. If you were in Melbourne you'd be mixing mortar up tomorrow morning and having to put up with me moaning all day. But i'd make you fall in love with bricks somehow. Good luck anyway mate.

ChrisLincoln (author) from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on March 29, 2011:


I love that it is a person who plays in the sandbox who replies first!

Sadly, having caught "the reputation" none of the grown ups will give me the pocket money I need to buy the stuff...

And (until today) many of them don't know why I didn't stay, and are kinda mad at me...

Heart's not in it anyway...


Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on March 29, 2011:

Very sorry to hear of your unfair exclusion from the sandbox. Maybe you could start building your own?

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