07 October 2011


I think that it’s a shame that so many adults have forgotten how fun it can be to play.  There are lots of advantages to playing, including allowing our creativity to flow freely, keeping ourselves in shape, lowering the levels of stress in our lives, and just plain having fun without having to justify it or quantify it.  Most of the adults that I know, though, have given up on playing, and they pay a pretty hefty price for the loss.

Play can be one of the most therapeutic and healthy activities that we undertake–given, of course that we find something good and fun to play at.  Play allows us simply to be, without having to do anything special or be anyone special.  There are tons of things we can play at, from cars to house to space exploration, or we can use a game of cards or a board game to allow our playful sides to come out.  As long as we don’t take what we’re playing at too seriously and worry about whether we’re winning or losing, we can have a lot of fun at almost anything we do.  And once we start playing, we find that time slows down, life gets easier, and we end up with something fun to look back on.

I used to go to church picnics and be the only adult playing with the kids.  The other adults would sit around and talk about the same things that they talked about at home and in church, while the kids would be over having fun, playing tag or catch or whatever else they could think of.  I always opted for being with the kids.  I had plenty of time to talk over the same things with the same people, but I didn’t always have opportunities for sharing energy with young people who had plenty of energy to spare.  Having fun and playing allow us to use our energy very productively and very wisely–they have a rejuvenating if we only let them.

Do you have a chance to play today?  I hope that you take that chance and make the most of it.  Play can stimulate your mind and your body and your creativity and your self, and it can give you back much, much more than you give to it.  All you have to do is decide that you want to do it, and it will take you places you had forgotten existed, places that you knew very well when you were young and play was a major part of your life.

The real joy of life is in its play.  Play is anything we do for the joy and love
of doing it, apart from any profit, compulsion, or sense of duty.  It is the real
living of life with the feeling of freedom and self-expression.  Play is the business
of childhood, and its continuation in later years is the prolongation of youth.

Walter Rauschenbusch

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