Raise your hand if you’re more of a playful child at heart than a stuffy, old adult. Uh huh, that’s what I thought. Hands are going up all over the place. Now here’s another question for you: When was the last time you gave yourself a recess? Yep, that’s what I expected. Not as many hands going up this time. Any idea what that’s about?
My experience is that children (and adults with playful hearts) don’t just enjoy recess, they need it. If they don’t get time to play, there are unhappy consequences. Merely typing that last sentence brings to mind words and phrases like “time out,” “detention,” “grounded,” and “wait until (fill in a name or title) hears about this.”
Of course some children (and adults) would like to play all the time without ever being serious about, or responsible for, anything. However, continuous play rarely produces any better results than recess deprivation. The words and phrases enumerated above are applied just as frequently to those who play too much as to those who play too little.
So how does one remain a responsible, productive, and serious member of society without depriving oneself of necessary playtime? How does one remain playful and young at heart without becoming an irresponsible, unproductive, and inconsequential member of society? Is it possible to balance seriousness and silliness without becoming a clown, a stick in the mud, or a goody two shoes?
I wish you could see the expressions on your faces right now. There are scowls and frowns, smiles and grins, and even a few blank stares. I’m sure that if your microphones were on, I’d hear a lot of mumbling and grumbling, too. But that’s okay because I’m still going to ask you to try something.
For the next 24 hours, just do the opposite of what you normally do. If you’re recess deprived, go play. If you normally play too much, become more serious. I predict you won’t go overboard either way in just one day, but it’s very likely you’ll rediscover something about yourself that you forgot long, long ago.
Have you deprived yourself of either seriousness or silliness?
What have been the consequences of that?
How did that make you feel?
What will you do differently in the next 24 hours?