Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Let your kids play----- P.S. We are all kids at heart.

When was the last time you played? I mean, just really stopped what you were doing and took the time to play?

And when was the last time your kids played freely and joyfully?

Many kids do not even know how to play anymore. They are so used to being structured, that when they do find some free time, they are not sure what to do.

I feel as though sometimes we are pushing them to be something. But I am not sure quite what. I also feel that we push ourselves to be something. And again, I am not sure to what end.

We all want our kids to be successful; of course we do. But a life bereft of fun and games and pleasure is just not a great life.

We think we need things. Lots of things. But things provide only short term joy. However, we still try to get those things, and most of the time we work extra hard and are extra stressed to achieve just that. And what do we end up with? I am not sure I have the answer, but if I look around, I do not see people dancing in the streets full of glee over what they were able to get. I see stressed out folks who like to drink or take a pill to make themselves feel happier. Trying to forget about that stressful day. You know, the one that they have to live day in and day out so that they and their children can have more.

But more what?

I also see a lot of kids. I see them at my daughter's school, I see them when I substitute as a school nurse, I see them when I work as a camp nurse. And what I see frightens me. I see a lot of stressed out kids. If I could send home a prescription, that prescription would say, play more.

And that starts at home. Allow yourself to allow your kids to play. To goof off occasionally. To sit in their PJ's all day on a Saturday watching TV or playing the Wii or reading or sleeping or dreaming or coloring. Have a non-structured day where they can eat what they want and be what they want. It may surprise you that they will love this. They will love this a lot.

And occasionally join them. And not because it is a vacation or a holiday, but for no reason at all. Have a "just living day." Have it on a Thursday or a Monday. Surprise yourself with this gift.

We are fed a lot of stuff these days. That we have to push, push, push; and then we have to push some more. That it is a competitive world and we have got to get going if we are to ever achieve and keep up. I hear it all of the time. I have been caught up in it myself. However, it is simply a lie. And it leads to bad days, not good ones.

But a good day, a really good day, just is. And we do not have enough of them. Our kids do not have enough of them. We are a nation bereft of joy.

So, tonight, let you kids have some fun. Let them play. Yes, even on a Wednesday. Have some fun with them. Have a day when you just eat junk food or tell funny stories or act silly. Don't do errands or laundry or chores. Just be.

I am telling you, play is the best thing for what ails you. It will make us happier people. And after a day like today, I will tell you, it is the most important thing we can ever do.

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things... I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.”
~~~Leo F. Buscaglia

"The prime purpose of being four is to enjoy being four - of secondary importance is to prepare for being five."
~Jim Trelease

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
~Frederick Douglass

"Children find everything in nothing; men find nothing in everything."
~Giacomo Leopardi

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