Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Play and Let Play

Kids like to play. Little kids, medium kids, big kids, really big kids: all of them play. The very definition of kid includes the word play

kid  noun  \'kid\  a young human who is required to actively and loudly play, indoors or out, at all hours of the day and night

See? Kids play. It is an intrinsic value of the human child, aka kid. And when kids are playing, they feel good enough to play. Be thankful if your children run around like wild things. Parents all over the world would give anything for their children to be able to run around and play. Let your kids play. Not all kids can.

And since kids like to play, and in fact must play, I feel the strong desire to play with them. At times, it is imperative that I squelch that urge and act like an adult. Like when we're not at our house or when we're at church or in a restaurant. And I want Sammy to know that there is a time and a place to play and be loud. But honestly, when my five year old son is happily squealing and running through the house, my first tendency is to give chase and play with him. Granted, I have created a relatively kid-friendly house and have purchased sturdy furniture. Cushions can be easily moved around. I chose our coffee table and end table fully expecting them to become stages. And they have. Many times. 

Jacob on the stage, performing for Sammy and invisible friends. 
Our kitchen chairs have been arranged to accommodate a myriad of stuffed animals and friends for impromptu performances of Veggie Tales or The Wiggles. Our couch is leather and is amply able to handle the occasional kid-friendly and oh-so-safe game of Wipeout. The furniture is arranged not just for conversation, but just far enough apart to make bouncing exciting. My mom would have (and did!) have a fit when I jumped on the furniture when I was four, five, and six years old. And lots of my friends say I shouldn't allow bouncing and running inside the house, but I do. Why? Because this is our home.

I want our home, whether we're in the South or in South Korea, to be full of fun, happy memories. I want meals to be happy and full of good conversation. I want bedtime to be full of loving and cuddling. I want Sammy, when he's 37 years old, to remember home and childhood as a safe, loving, fun environment where children, marriage, and friendships were highly valued, and where discipline was administered calmly and with a distinct purpose. I want his childhood to be remembered fondly so that someday he can offer the same kind of childhood to my grandchildren. 

Sammy is the Bubble Monster!
I want Sammy to know how to have fun and love and respect others for who they are, not for who he thinks they should be. And I will continue to strive to make Sammy's childhood be a happy childhood. I want him to play in a bubble bath for as long as he wants to sit there, and I will happily add a little more warm water so he can get good and pruned up. There are more than enough things for him to get into trouble about without me adding "running in the house" or "jumping on the furniture" or "splashing water" to the list. And I am infinitely thankful that I played with Jacob and let him play and jump and bounce in the house and on the furniture. He needed to play and I needed to play with him. And I wouldn't trade a second of all that mischief I shared with him.

Kids need to play. And as parents, we need to let them play. And learn to play with them. It's fun. Trust me. Play. And let your kids play, too. 

1 comment:

  1. A lesson I need to remember sometimes! Thanks for sharing :-).