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The importance of sandboxes

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I have the most random yet vivid memories from my childhood.

One of them is of the time I snuck a shovel out of the garage and began digging a hole in an abandoned flowerbed on the side of our house. I was trying to see how far I could dig. The thought of going all the way to the core of the Earth was exciting.

When my parents found out I was spending my days digging a big hole on the side of the house, they initially wanted me to stop. But, eventually, they let me do it. I wasn’t hurting anything, and digging holes was better than getting into trouble. My siblings did enough of that.

They let me have a sandbox – a safe environment to goof around in. And not just in the instance of the flowerbed. Throughout my childhood, they allowed me the freedom to experiment. It’s the reason I ended up with blonde highlights in junior high.

On second thought, maybe they should have instituted boundaries.

People need spaces to try new things on our own terms. Places to dig around, experience some failure, and get a little dirty in the process. Whether it leads us to discovering a profound passion or calling it quits after a day, the important thing is an ability to scratch the itch we inherently have.

People crave (and need) autonomy. And when they get it, it makes them more happy, motivated, fulfilled.

You may not have an old flowerbed available around the corner of your house, but somewhere, there is a space for you. Go find it.

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