Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Children and Play

I'm the proud (and anxious) father of a brand new kindergartener! The first week of school seemed very successful, though we didn't get as much feedback from her as we might have liked. Still, each day she was excited about getting on the bus at home, and reportedly excited about getting off the bus at school. That bodes well.

Last night was "Kindergarten Curriculum Night." The principal and various teachers spent 90 minutes describing the different activities that the kids take part in throughout the week and the approach that each teacher uses in their particular area: general education, health and physical education, art, and music. It amazes me that, at 5 years old, we're teaching our children about social interaction and kindness (PE), identification and appreciation for patterns (art), and tone and structure (music). I think teaching kids those fundamental ideas will be very powerful for their future learning and socialization.

More importantly, I love that our kindergarten teacher provides a full hour of unstructured play time for our daughter. Kids definitely need an opportunity to relax and play.

When I think about my daughter and her relationship with adult authority figures, I inevitably also think about the relationship that all of us have with God. The parent/child analogy is one that I find powerful in my own faith journey.

I like that we expect our children to play and provide them with safe opportunities to do so. I think God wants all of to have the same opportunity. Yes, life and faith are about struggle and growth and work, but all of that can appear in the form of play, too, I think. In fact, I think we have the choice on many things to see them as either work or play, merely based on our approach to them.

I'm choosing to believe that God is providing me the opportunity to play, and therefore, I'm going to look for opportunities to see play in more of the things that I do every day.


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