Play, Damn You! It’s Serious Business
I remember once…
when I was little?
My twin brother and I were given that dreaded task of Cleaning Our Room. (I’m sure we were asked to do that more than once, but it’s this one particular time that I remember.)
I hated that task, Cleaning Our Room. I wasn’t very good at it.
I’ve never liked doing things I wasn’t good at.
What I was good at? Playing. Following rules of a game. Pretending. Imagining.
So I had this totally Awesomeapottamus of an idea. Why didn’t we turn cleaning our rooms into a game? Like, we could pretend boxes were train cars, and see who could get the most cargo (stuff in the room) sorted onto the the right train cars?
I thought it rocked. I was already to break out the crayons and draw wheels and doors and hobos all over the boxes.
I don’t remember my brother’s reaction, but he probably threw something at me. I do remember Mom’s reaction – she looked at me like I was crazy, decided I was trying to get out of work, and took the boxes away.
So I didn’t get to play the Cleaning Train Game.
I always felt like it was such a missed opportunity.
Now that I’m All Growed Up (*cough*) I realize that it was, in part, a personality thing. My favorite temperament profiling thing suggests I have a big dose of Sanguine, which is motivated by a need for fun fun fun.
Mom is a Choleric – she’s all about the serious and keeping things in control. A 5 year old who wants to clean her room by playing Choo-Choo Train? Yeah. Not properly in control. I didn’t exactly fit Mom’s idea of how-things-should-be.
Don’t worry, I did get plenty of playtime. It was just separate from the serious-business-of-cleaning, which mostly explains why I’m such a lousy house-keeper.
But apparently? Metaphor Mouse was my childhood invisible friend, which explains a lot about how I wound up running a Circus. (Metaphor Mouse is a havi-ism. You can meet him here)
This week? I found out that nearly everything I assumed about the purpose of play? It’s probably wrong. Especially the part about play having a discernible “purpose”.
See, I’d always gone along with the popular assumption that childhood games are about learning development, practice for grown up tasks, teaching moments, and so on.
And sure, they can (and often are) those things.
But… well… here. Watch this.
For those of you who can’t be bothered with video (like me, most of the time) Here’s a quick summary.
Play is important for your brain. Play does things to the brain. Cool things. Things science doesn’t really understand. It’s important for development, it’s important for growth, it’s important for… erm.. well.. it’s important, dammit!
Regardless of age, regardless of temperament, we all need some playtime in our lives.
Which reminds me of Elissa’s Little Red Hen, in the Circus Parade, who rediscovered playtime didn’t have to be related to her work. It could just be for the sake of play, alone.
And you know what?
I think I’m going to figure out how to make a Circus Train of Cleaning. I’ll definitely draw a Little Red Hen on it.
And maybe an Awesomeapottamus.
« previous next »
How do you play? Do make up an excuses for it, (which is perfectly ok, btw) or easily abandon yourself to it without thought? Does it make you feel guilty, or free? What was your favorite childhood game? Ramble away!