As I write this, it’s a sweltering day in summer. There is a heatwave that is slowly cooking our town into a stupor. But there’s one collective sound that permeates the air. The heat can’t get close to it. It’s the babble of excited children, spending another afternoon playing.
For me, that’s where the journey to brilliance begins, through play.
The Art of Play.
Give children an inch of space and a stitch of time and they’ll play. They’ll find something to turn into a game. In fact, push them into a space where they have no resources to play with, and they will find resources. They will become resourceful.
My father grew up poor in Portugal. With an absent father, his mother barely had money to buy her children shoes, so toys were out of the question. Did this stop him and my uncle from having fun? No. This was a poor neighbourhood, where children had very little. So they made up games and created tools for those games.
With the right attitude and acceptance of one’s imagination, a lack of resources suddenly becomes a challenge to be more resourceful. Cabbage stalks become baseball bats. Discarded newspapers become baseballs.
Recounting this story reminds me that there are no limits to the children of this world.
That is where their journey begins. That is where their cups are empty. We start to fill them with ideas, to help them along in understanding the customs we have created. But those ideas turn dangerous when they become fixed. And somewhere along the way we forget to mention that we may not be right 90% of the time.
As a result, we’re telling generations what to believe, instead of teaching them how to determine if something has personal meaning. It’s time to stop this folly.
Let’s give back our children the power of responsibility, resourcefulness, patience and imagination.