2. On the importance of play
We have all heard the saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Well, not playing would have a detrimental impact on a person and their relationships. Through play, kids have the opportunity to try on ideas for different careers and for learning how to handle conflict. Kids can pretend one day to be a doctor and another day to be a teacher or firefighter or anything else they can imagine. All of which gives us great opportunities to help kids dream and encourage them. Kids can learn the cause and effect of relationships – such as what happens to my relationships with others when I wipe out the board (or threw the controls or the gaming device) when I lost. Or perhaps I won the game but went on and on with bragging – and later others don’t want to play with me.
Play also provides great opportunities for deepening relationships – and this is across the board in the age spectrum. Play provides the parent-child bonding as well as bonding between siblings and friends. In a marriage, a couple that has lost track of how to enjoy time with each other is one that is on perilous ground. A frequent assignment in marital counseling is for the couple to prioritize a date night. Play time provides those deposits in the relationship account that not only deepen the relationship, but also allow the relationship to withstand those difficult times when there is conflict and strain. Some of the best memories in friendships and families revolve around having fun together.
So our challenge is to not view playtime as a frivolous waste of time, but to work on enjoying and deepening our relationships by having fun together. In a day and age when each person in a family may have their own personal gaming device it can be a challenge to engage with one another in fun. It is not hard to imagine each person being isolated even in their fun if all they do is play- alone. Far from the problem of being dull – if we don’t play with others, our relationships will suffer and we will be the worse off for it. So get out there… and have some fun.
– Marty Plog, L.P.C