“Why is Play Important?”

“The WHY . . . ? . . . Series”

“The Why . . .? . . . Series” is not about answers; WHY’s intention is to help us explore, expand, and to accept the courageous invitation to grow through the actual journey we call our lives.”

“WHY is Play important?”

One of the things I don’t like about serving a multiple point parish is the lack of connection with the Sunday School kids. I’m always heading to the next service and I don’t get to spend time getting to know the students- especially their names. 

While knowing names is important, I really miss what the kids can teach me about how they see the world and the wisdom they bless me with, which is why being a part of VBS is essential to my calling to the parish. In VBS I typically get to float around and spend time with the different groups, learning names, and listening to their wisdom. One of the best gifts is how they show me the importance of play.

One of the biggest mistakes adults make is discounting the importance of play. Here are some of the lies we tell ourselves about play? (Other examples? Please share with me!)

* I’m too old for that? (Is anybody growing younger? Why did we ever stop?)

* I wished I had their energy (how much energy could we gain by playing?)

* What would people say if they saw me? (One of the most crippling excuses we use!)

WHY Play?

* Play helps us focus. Watch a child play- they lose themselves in one thing at a time. It’s impossible to really play if you have too many distractions.

* Play helps with problem solving. Play removes the “one right answer” mistake as we give ourselves permission to explore all options- even the outlandish ones.

* Play teaches us how to trust ourselves and others. Play is about connections and it’s impossible to feel connected if there isn’t trust.

* Play only uses the past as a teaching moment NEVER as a weapon. Mistakes are made, learn from them and move forward. Don’t let the past hold you hostage.

* Play helps us to live in the here and now. What other time zone is there but NOW?

* Play helps to show the world we feel safe. It’s difficult to play if theirs danger or if the people around us are abusive. Kids who don’t feel safe have a hard time playing

* Play is a gift from God. Why wouldn’t God want us to play? Can God’s commandments be invitations to play? Does God play?

WHY don’t people Play? It depends on:

– What is your definition of play and is it limiting or expanding?

– Do you need an excuse to play? Is alcohol or some other mood changer needed before you can play? 

– Do you limit yourself because of painful memories of the past or that you have to wait for “someday” before you can play?

– Is pain an obstacle to being able to play? Have you ever asked your pain for a playdate?

– Have you ever prayed to God for help in learning how to play?

DID YOU EVER NOTICE: Pray and Play are only one letter different from each other? Coincidence? I think not! The “R” stands for “Reflection” which praying can help us do; the “L” stands for “Living” which playing can help us with! Don’t take my word for it- pray about it; play with it and see WHY play is important in our lives!

God’s peace,

Pastor Jim

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