Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Playing Vs. Effort

I took my son to the park today. It has been a long while since we just went to the park. I have come to rely on school and after school activities to wear him out. Lately that does not seem to be enough. So with his older sister off to a play at a friend's house, the moose and I had two hours. I thought momentarily of the warmth inside, the recipes I could type up, the dinner I could prep, but I mentally fortified myself and made the offer. He went for it; I was somewhat surprised as he does have an intense fondness for Legos which is partly to blame for my tolerating him inside so much these past few cold months. It was not the balmiest day, but we took a ball and a kite with the plan to fly the kite and practice dodge ball (the moose told me he needs to practice). We flew the kite maybe five minutes. We threw the ball maybe five more minutes, and then he was done with all of that. I offered to show him some soccer moves- he ran one long lap, kicking the ball and pronounced that it made him tired. He wanted to do something else. "What?" I asked. "An adventure!" he yelled running in the other direction toward the tunnel. We were to look for treasure, the bad guys, and a few other things that are all mixed up in my head with the voluminous number of ideas he had.

The joy of the park is really better from his perspective. We had to take helicopters (swings) to the Amazon Village to rescue the treasures from the Nazis. He loves Indiana Jones- can you tell? We had to climb play ground equipment, slide down the slides, etc., but really we were climbing mountains and doing daring things. And I was trying to get him to chase the soccer ball- boring. Meanwhile he wore me out. When I called time to go, he had one more mountain to climb (slide), one more Nazi to capture (tunnel), and then he pronounced it "fun."

This was in contrast to my morning experience at the American Navy Base. I was walking into the Commissary (where you buy food stuff) when a line of older elementary aged children came along just as I did. A teacher of some sort shouted out (I am not making this up), "Walk in a straight line, hands behind your back, no talking, this is not a game." This really bugged me- prisoners maybe, but school kids? Yikes.

Have you seen the "fun theory" at work in the Swedish Train station on youtube? I watched it recently and thought yes, why aren't we doing more of this. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw

Life should be more fun! It is more effortless anyway when we are having fun and as I get older effortless is a most remarkable state of being. I would like more of fun and a dose of imagination too.