Professional Play

Yesterday someone introduced Scott and I as “Professional Play-ers.” Wow! I couldn’t be more honored by the title.

I saw the eyes of the people we were being introduced to, though, and could see some confusion and questioning. They didn’t understand.

And that’s o.k. So many people don’t.

You see, when I hear the word “play” it means something different to me.

I love how Teacher Tom says, “…the word play is such a plump berry of a word, one from which a whole way of experiencing the world can be squeezed.”

He goes on to define Play:

Play is open-ended.

Play is what you do when no one is telling you what to do; it’s self-selected; it’s freely chosen.

Play is the way humans naturally answer their own questions; play is how we satisfy our curiosity.

Play is science, exploration, invention, and discovery.

Play is taking risks, thinking critically, and questioning the status quo.

Play is an active engagement with the real world and the people we find there.

Play is how we learn about the link between failure, perseverance, and success.

Play is holistic, inclusive, universal.

The most perfect synonyms for play are “art,” “life,” “love,” and “education.” For me, the word “play” encompasses everything worth knowing, and that’s why I’ll continue to use it.

If that’s our definition of play, then the converse is also true. Without play children are missing life, love and education – everything that they need to develop into the human beings God designed them to be.

And that’s the situation we are dealing with in our work. Children with a lot of risk factors – poverty, abuse and more, which translates into a lack of all things “play.”

The way of healing, the number one way to change the direction of their development, is introducing play into their lives.

When you look at it that way something so basic, so simple, so pure and yet essential is truly powerful and life transforming in the physical and spiritual realms.

For these children it’s like pouring a healing balm on a tired, weary soul.

Play… what does it mean to you?

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