Out back in the forest lies an old rock, 8” x 12”, that protrudes up about 8 inches with cuts, dents and graffiti from years of the children playing Hide and Seek,or the Gratitude Game, in Northern Ireland. Using the “Ollie Ollie In-Come Free” shout-out, kids must hide as the Caller searches for them until the first person touches the stone and is the new Caller. Then the game starts over with this new person.
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But to call this a game is a misnomer. The definition of gratitude is:
“the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” WIKI
Added to the game is the first to touch the rock must express gratitude to some one or some experience. This makes the game mostly non-competitive and gives the children the chance to share something meaningful in the midst of a rigorous physical activity.
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Zelda is hiding behind a tree and waits for a glimpse of the Caller before either running away from the stone or running to it. She pants and crouches. She is thankful for the game because it brings her friends together in a non-competitive way.
Owen is thankful for the new bike his parents bought him – and for all of the exercise he needs to be fit.
Freda is running to the rock!! She beats the Caller to it and shouts “Ollie Ollie In-Come Free!” Then all players hustle to the rock to rest-up for the next round.
“What are you thankful for Freda?” The kids inquire!
“For this rock, as it is the oldest symbol of peaceful play and friendship in the land.”