Making Play a Priority
The unpainted cottage possess all the potential. No colors, no expectations, just pure possibility.
Is that what children are? Blank Slates? Descartes may have been wrong about the Tabula Rasa, but children come into this world as pure potential, little swaddled bundles of possibilities.
I remember the trek through childhood and the rush to get through to the other end and emerge as fully functioning and productive members of society. By nine, stuffed animals and cartoons were to be a thing of the past. No trick or treating after the age of 10. Middle school meant copying the behaviors of the mature high schoolers. Childhood needed to be put behind us.
The transition from elementary school to middle caught me off guard. I didn't want to put away the childish things, but parental and peer pressure was enough to convince me to bag up the symbols of my youth and tuck them away into the attic.
I wasn't happy about it, but I did as was expected and pretended that play was no longer for me. I trudged through high school and college, serious and dedicated to my schoolwork. Fun was a thing of the past.
Decades later, I can see that losing that sense of play and whimsy damaged my psyche, leaving me unbalanced and unhappy. Even now, finding time for play is very difficult for me.
Which is why I've been so happy to see how society seems to be shifting (not everyone of course) but more teenagers and more young twenty somethings are out trick or treating. People of all ages are putting on cosplay and garb at conventions and Ren Faires and exploring their sense of play and whimsy.
People of all ages treat themselves to plushies. Gaming is on the rise.
Even if this trend came too late for my child self, I am delighted at this shift. My inner child struggles with envy at how effortless and easy having fun seems to have become.
Finding the time for finding the fun eludes me more often then it should. I know that I need to make play a priority. Making art helps scratch that itch a little, but I realize I need to do more for that child inside me that lost her playtime too early.
I love that society is making this shift, that we are recognizing that all work and no play is detrimental for the development of our youth and our adults. Let's continue down this path.
Give trick or treating teens an extra handful. Gift that plushie to your thirty year old friends. Play frisbee with forty years old. Roll the dice with the fifty somethings. Play, my friends. Frolic and play, remembering that joy should continue from the cradle to the golden age. We deserve to enjoy life and to pursue our passions and our whimsy.
Play and innocence. Frolic and fun.