Updated: Jan 4, 2022
Let’s Talk About Play!
Hearing about another school shooting incident in Colorado brought me to tears. Along with grief for victims and family, I feel overwhelming sadness about living in a world where this is becoming the norm. While I’m sure there are many contributing factors, the one I can speak to is the impact of the lack of movement and interactive play. I wrote my thesis on Reclaiming An Adult Relationship to Play, as I believe it’s critically important for all of us to play throughout our lifetimes. But, today, I am looking at this from what the lack of play is doing to our children and our society. About 20 years ago, I had the honor of participating in a playshop with my teacher, Christine Caldwell, and Dr.Stuart Brown, a leading researcher on play. Of the many benefits, aspects and implications surrounding play and the lack thereof, one of the most profound things I heard Dr. Brown say during that workshop, was that play deprivation is a leading indicator for mass murder. In fact, I remember him saying that it was the only correlation that could be found among mass murderers.
Play is known to foster relationship, creativity, curiosity, awareness, and flexibility. It is also spontaneous, asking us to be in the present moment and is a crucial factor in learning (for children and adults!). Without a sufficient amount of play as children, the development of rapport, understanding, self-esteem, problem-solving skills, emotional release and ability to adjust to trauma are all compromised. If you are a parent, a teacher, a school counselor, or in any way influencing young ones; I highly encourage you to look at how to more actively engage them in interactive play. No children in your life? Play for yourself; it’s good for the world.