We saw them as we were walking along the beach. Three children had dug a hole in the wet sand and were now sitting in it, slathering themselves with mud.
Brian and I remarked on their obvious joy. A woman was standing nearby watching and I said, “They sure are having fun.” Her disapproval was obvious when she replied, “They’re so dirty. I’m glad they’re not my kids.”
This seemed such a sad statement. Their play was not a disturbance to those around them. We actually gained pleasure by just watching their fun. They were busy enjoying their mud baths, oblivious to the opinions of those around them. It was the children and not the adult who had the right idea.
I looked back to see one boy run into the lake, wash off and then return to his friends to paint arms and legs with mud once again.
Oh, to be like a child, free to ignore what other may think and just have fun. Sometimes I need to relax and not concern myself with maintaining a spotless image. It’s ok if my hands get dirty or I get mud on my face. There may be people who disapprove but there just may be more who want to enter the fun with me.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
An example of pure joy was being played out before me. Young children were running through a large puddle. Smiling parents stood nearby, watching as their children laughed and splashed through the water.
As I passed by, the children were asking their parents, “Can we go just one more time? Pleeease.” They were having so much fun they didn’t want it to end!
It made me happy just to watch their enthusiastic play. No expensive toys were needed. All that was necessary were rubber boots and a puddle. As far as the children were concerned I’m sure even the rubber boots were optional!
I wondered when I had last taken the time to play. Not a game where there is a desired outcome, but just to have fun. I am grateful for the children in my life who encourage me to relax and enjoy life. They are wonderful teachers.
Playing is good for us. It reduces stress, eases burdens and restores a sense of optimism. For a healthy life, it is more a necessity than a luxury.
When I do something just for fun, my creativity is unleashed. Maybe that’s because I break free from the box of conformity I often place myself in.
We can learn a lot about each other through play. This begs the next question. Who wants to come out and play?
“You can learn more about a man in an hour of play than in a lifetime of conversation.” -Plato