Just recently, two powerful articles have included children and play. We cannot question the value and importance of play. Last week, the dream of a 5 year- old boy came true. Suffering from leukemia, he wanted to play a SuperHero, so dressed as Batkid, he saved Gotham City. More than 20,000 people in the city of San Francisco played along with him. They all played and pretended, and created a connection deeper than they ever imagined.
I had no problem smiling and laughing as I read that article. But in the next one, I didn’t know whether to smile or cry: Sign of Hope in Phillippines: Children Playing Again. The Philippines has been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. Homeless, hungry, fighting disease, millions have been affected. Children have been wounded and orphaned, and in the midst of the trauma, there’s a sign of hope. The children have begun to play. Play is helping the children cope with the immense tragedy and profound fear. Play.
How can children play, in the midst of all this chaos? An American folklorist, Brian Sutton-Smith, said “The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.” If the opposite of depression is hope, then as children play, they truly express hope. How are you and your children playing today?