I belive in the sound of children laughing

Douglas - Middlesex, Vermont
Entered on February 22, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Entombed in my office coffin, proximity has made us roommates. I at work in my lonely little cell. They, in the school yard, below – the play yard sounds drifting in my small roof window. This sound, however, haunts me with happiness, fills me with distraction. This day was warm, the little window open. And there it was, the noise, that delightful noise. It must be lunch time. Maybe, it is recess time, do I really know or care? And I hear it, happiness comes over me, as I exist snugly in my working confines. It is that sound, that wonderful sound, noise to some – to me, soothing, its beautiful- the sound of children laughing.

This is what I believe in. There is no greater sound. The jets take off, the cars go faster. I hear there is a new way to book a flight, a new way to transfer money from my bank account. Yet, I live for that sound- The sound of children laughing. I live in an often plastic world, a planned world – this is what I will do, this is what you will do. My mind searches for simplicity and understanding. I know what it is – I hear it – I hear the sound, in airports, in stores, in that play yard – that warm, hopeful sound – the sound of children laughing.

I sit alert at work that day- on the clock –a data program is running – I check an email while the program runs – but there I go- my mind drifts to a fine day – This particular day was truly a fine day for play. The wiffle ball flew through the air. It seemed a windy day at times. The ball floated and fluttered without reason, without logic. Catching the ball was a silly struggle. There was no strategy. My planned, strategized life had lost all dimension as I struggled to catch this ball. Do we all enter that world? Is this simple goal, is this the mission, to achieve the objective- just to catch this ball. The wind seem to come and go. It was a magical day. I finally did catch a ball that day, laughing, bringing it into my warm hands, under a soft summer sky. The sky, the day, gray in some ways, but not to me. I could hear the sound of the children laughing as we all played. The pine smell soaked the air. The bugs were hungry at times that day. Occasional menacing clouds stilled the air. The bugs seem to take that as a good time to come try us out. The game-the objective was so clear, so wonderful, hit the ball, and run. We all like to run, we all run toward something. Run to achieve or don’t run at all- But today we run and laugh, and enjoy the wind, the glimpse of sun, the clouds – the cut grass, flowers, the far too many weeds – We live, we work, but truly we live to smell the pines, and feel that summer warmth, and to run, and maybe catch the ball that day, and be soothed by the sound of our children laughing.

The staff meeting was intense. No one escaped from this one. Email, instant message, cell phone – modern technology had captured all of us this day. You did this, CC me on this, zip the file, attach the file, PM me, IM me. … But, my mind wandered to that place – that special place – the small window – I could maybe peek up through, at the sky, but I just sit and work and listen- I sit, I hear that special sound…to my little window to hear the sound – the children laughing and playing in the play yard.. … .


The play yard’s big slide was fast that day. I’m sure I would labor out there – too big, too consumed with predictable outcome to ride down the slide the right way – big butt cheeks, squeaking, laboring, skin on metal and slow we go. We grow up and no longer understand – but we use to- we still try to sometimes. The child at times, tries everything to understand our purposeful, predictable world. All must have reason. You could get hurt going that fast. What will the outcome be- I need to know this.

I can’t be in that world – not right now – please don’t make me….

Grab on, they say? Why… the big slide is very fast today. I can go so fast on it. I could put my shoes down to slow me up. But, I don’t. I will certainly fly off the end. Life has dealt me that. I need to do it. I could grab on to the side, but I just can’t. I have to know. I have to know. Life has challenged me, and I fast I go down the slide. I fly off the end and I have survived, dusty and a bit shaken, and I laugh- a laugh – the sound of my laughing. I love to laugh, to smile, to feel the world has for that brief second consumed me with joy – has given me joy – the joy of laughter – the freedom of joy and laughter.

This sound – from my little room – my little window- that wonderful sound, the sound of children laughing – the sound that transcends time, and gives me hope.