Sunday, July 02, 2006


A friend of mine mentioned in her blog that she has a hard time knowing how to play. This set me to some serious thinking about what it means to play. So much of our childhood games have origins that were very purposeful. Think of Mother May I or Simon Says, teaching children manners of asking permission and doing what they are told. Sports are training for endurance, good for hunting and battle. And lets not forget playing house and Easybake Ovens for preparing for the running of a house and capture the flag are great for developing strategies. I am not sure what hide and seek or the Hokie Pokie do, but if I thought about it long enough I could figure it out.

So if playing is really training, what it the difference between work and play? In Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, there is the famous scene where Sawyer gets his friends to do the chore of white washing the fence by convincing then that it is fun. Sawyer then makes a mental note that "Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do." Obligation, makes me think of duty and judgment.

Things we enjoy - cooking, painting, carpentry, can be work or fun - attitude is the thing. Play is freedom to make mistakes and messes. Play is not worrying about the purpose. Let spirit or imagination run amuck. Look goofy, have game night, splash on the beach. Playing means not having to look good, but it is also ok to have winners and successes.

Wow, what a bit of philosophizing. Sorry about that. I am now off to find out what the Hokie Pokie is all about.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

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