Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Importance of Play

“What do most Nobel Laureates, innovative entrepreneurs, artists and performers, well-adjusted children, happy couples and families, and the most successfully adapted mammals have in common? They play enthusiastically throughout their lives. — What common denominator is shared by mass murderers, abused children, burnt-out employees, depressed mothers, caged animals, and chronically worried students? Play is rarely or never a part of their lives.” — Stuart Brown, Institute of Play from Creativity at Work Newsletter Dec 2008.

There is a TV show that fascinates me. This outdoor dude puts himself in extremely challenging environments and situations and then gets himself out of them – a bit like a modern McGiver but without the Swiss Army knife – probably need to be over 40 to get the McGiver bit. It’s all very plausible until you realize he has got to be being filmed and recorded by someone. This does not matter to my 14 year old. This programme has been the catalyst for large amounts of creativity in our household and the surrounding environment since he has become addicted to this programme. It had even been the catalyst for me and my wife to play – making bows and arrows, lighting fires in the back yard, planting vegetables in a patch of bush so when we get lost we’ll have something to feast on – that’s if the vegetables grow without too much sunlight. Its been great fun but what is even more fascinating is that our son has given us permission to play. I probably would never had made arrows or messed with fires - after all I am nearing 60 - had he not encouraged us to do so. Its easier to explain to other adults that we were playing with our son rather than saying we spent hours making bows and arrows and playing with fire.

Play is important to our future, especially in this economic down turn. Some futurists have suggested that we'll need to be more inventive, creative, and flexible to handle life in this century and beyond. A great way to develop these abilities is to play – with your children and grandchildren, your partner, your work mates and friends.

Mmmmmm . . . . Its a nice day . . . . time to go and play. . . . .!!

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