Thursday, September 03, 2009

Let's Play



From Stuart Brown, "Let the Children Play (Some More)," New York Times op-ed, September 2, 2009--

The differences in playfulness when adulthood arrives (I have followed more than 6,000 detailed play histories) validates the importance of lifelong play. Play-deprived adults are often rigid, humorless, inflexible and closed to trying out new options. Playfulness enhances the capacity to innovate, adapt and master changing circumstances. It is not just an escape. It can help us integrate and reconcile difficult or contradictory circumstances. And, often, it can show us a way out of our problems. There are numerous examples of difficult, deadlocked negotiations that were broken open by a joke or humorous incident. Many people have had the experience of coming back from vacation brimming with new ideas for work. The benefits of play come not from “rest” for the brain, as if play is just a time-out from life. Play is an active process that reshapes our rigid views of the world.

True play may seem pointless — it is done for its own sake, because it’s fun — but ultimately it is also useful. From an evolutionary perspective, the smarter the animal, the more they play. For humans, play reinvigorates us not because it is down time, but because it gets us in touch with our core selves and the joy of life.

The photo is from a recent day of play with my nephews and niece.

6 comments:

Sheila said...

Anybody want to go hang gliding with me? I think it counts as play....October is a good month for it.

Stephanie said...

I've always wanted to parasail. That counts, right?

Sheila said...

I'm sure it counts, but it doesn't give me a hang gliding partner! :-)

CarolinaGirl said...

I wonder if you could hanglide off of Denali...

Lucy said...

And watery play is especially good.

The hang-gliding sounds very tempting. Wish I was closer...

Amy Jo Underwood said...

Hey, I recognize those people.... :)

Hope you're doing well!