A Time to Play

by Chrysula on August 14, 2009 in sharing,work life balance

I don’t consider myself a particularly playful person. Nor creative in traditional, crafty sort of ways. My idea of a good time outside of family and social life, is a night surfing the internet reading interesting things, following up on recommendations and occasionally settling down with a book. OK, I do sometimes watch the “West Wing” on DVD.

I have four very rambunctious playful and deeply creative children. I am constantly in awe of the worlds my children can create in their minds. The joy of far flung journeys. The characters, the adventures. But I am not the type to get down on the floor and join in the party. It would seem that somewhere in the craziness of the last few years, I’ve forgotten how to play.

It’s time to remember. Not just for my family, but for me. Or I’ll turn into some grumpy old woman I don’t recognize before I am 50. So this week we’re off for an American history adventure. Reading stories and histories, stopping for swims and parks and some time with family and friends. And instead of busily catching up on “life” on my phone, I’ll be in the mix, being present. Laughing and playing.

So excuse me, but I’ve got to go build some legos with my kids. Oh, and reality check, stop them from fighting. Have a great weekend.


Diana August 15, 2009 at 11:04 am

A few years ago I asked my brother-in-law, who always manages to find really creative toys for his kids, what toys I should buy my son, he responded "You should buy toys that you want to play with because your kids don't really want to play with toys, they want to play with you." I was dismayed by the answer because like Chrysula, I am not the type of person to get down on the floor and join Thomas the Train in his magical world. What small reservoir of child play I had was basically depleted by the time my oldest son was three-years-old. Fortunately, my husband has a greater capacity for such play and is rewarded with lots of fun moments with our younger son. Still, I have taken my brother-in-law's advice to heart and have engaged in creative play with my kids in areas that I enjoy. We do art projects, cooking projects, play-doh, puzzles, bowling, bike riding, and reading together.

To some extent I am trying to heal the wounds of my own childhood through my kids. My father grew up on a farm in central Utah where the work was constant and not very profitable. Play was a luxury. But somehow religion got mixed in and the result was that play was something that truly salwart people did not do. While my childhood was not as austere as my father's there was a sense that play or fun came only in certain ways and in small doses. I really do want my children to have the experience of being carefree and to have play form a sense of well-being. The worlds that they create in their minds are the worlds that they build tomorrow.

Rachel August 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Albert Einstein said 'Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.'

I am continually floored by my children's ability to make a game and entertain themselves from so few props or nothing at all, wherever we may be. They know how to play with intent and innovation. Their bedroom is heaving with 'stuff', yet their imaginations are their favourite play area. I love that and I love that they have reminded me of all the possibilities that exist by allowing ourselves to be free to engage in our innate creative selves.

Amanda Soule ( http://www.amandasoule.com)puts it beautifully I think when she says:
'Much of our cultural energy is spent filling our minds, hearts, and time outside our families…There is a missing piece in this search for fulfillment – the piece that's home,connection and heart. While all the external events and energy are wonderful, it is often forgotten that the home and family can be a tremendous source of balance, happiness, inspiration and creativity.'

I have a unique opportunity to travel with them on their adventures. It is at times not where my head space is and quite often it seems inconvenient. But how can I not, when even the smallest amount of time in their world is nothing but enriching and a glorious reminder to nurture my own innovative self.

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