Remember "recess" when you were a child? Everyone was dismissed to the playground for some unstructured time of running, laughing, climbing on the monkey bars (my personal favorite, hanging upside down by the backs of my knees), and sliding down sides, and playing "jacks" or "marbles," or the one thing I still long to learn, "double-dutch jump rope," which I have not given up on yet.
This break from our schoolroom learning was as important as what happened in the room. This is because it was a time to stretch, move our body, rest our mind, burn up pent-up energy, and unbeknownst to ourselves, prepare for the afternoon classes.
Imagine if every day offered that opportunity. There was no option to recess, unless you were being punished. Hmmm... seems like the unspoken message here is that if you are not taking "recess" time every day it is like being punished!
Many years ago, when Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity was still on the planet and leading Unity, he would frequently shut down all of the offices mid-day and invite everyone out onto the beautiful grounds to have an impromptu picnic. Imagine what it would be like if that happened at your workplace, or in your life?
Imagine seeing folks playing catch, or shooting baskets, tossing frisbees or throwing snowballs on winter days? It is no wonder so many of us have become so sour and old. Just because we grow up does not mean we have to grow old.
Remember, "unstructured" is an important aspect of play. It is unfortunate that today many well-meaning parents taxi their children to one structured activity after another, believing they are helping them. Meanwhile all the child wants is a little unstructured family time.
Play is important because it is done for its' own sake, and yet immeasurable positive results are reaped. Instead of employees standing around the water cooler or coffee pots griping about the boss, their mate, or the world situation, what if they were laughing and playing instead? What if parents took a break each day from their busy-ness to call the children out to an impromptu picnic, or a game of "tag?"
Play stimulates the imagination and opens our minds and hearts to dreams and adventure and spontaneity. It reduces stress. It feeds the body, mind and soul. The socialization of play strengthens bonds enhances cooperation and the ability to work together.
Jesus said we should "become as little children." Good advice!
Have you played today?