I felt a great sense of contentment, amazement and serenity today.
In our present day, it feels as if a child's play has to be regulated, orchestrated, guided. By summer camps, playgroups, "educational toys"
and playmates. If a child were to be void of those, we feel that play is incomplete. And the child is often labeled as "bored" and doesn't know what to do with oneself.
Today I see my children. they were playing around a tree, some dirt, a very very small playground that has no gimmick, but a few ways to get up and one main way to get down, the slide. Granted, they had their bikes too, but most of the time, the little metal things are on the side, parked, while they did their play, almost solely with a big oak tree God created.
There was no instruction guide on how to play with that Oakey, the big oak tree. There was no playgroups or "socialization means". They were merely spending time. With their family, the nature and themselves.The playground became their fort, the rocks some food they collected and Oakey the magic tree. They had to employ their communicating/negotiating skills with their siblings, their bodies for climbing and running, and the best of all, their imagination for enjoyment.
I have nothing against toys (we have enough of them at home) or camps or playgroups or classes. In fact, I applaud the wonderful work our church does year after year, organizing a great summer camp for the community.
Honestly, it's much easier for me to let my children play on the computer or iPad. I can rest or do my own things. To bring them down means I have to drag me and my growing tummy along. To walk a little with them,even if I pant. To be more vigilant, for they get to explore more than the one feet radius they stayed in if they were with technology.
However, I only feel the classes, toys, technology are all supplements. If we believe that our children are in lack because they do not have these, and that their family, their home and God's earth are not enough, we might be losing out. Children who are always "occupied" have no need to imagine what to do with themselves. Those who have to be with others and not just their family cannot learn to live in simple contentment of their home and the bond of their families. "The family is enough" (from Sally Clarkson and another speaker in a conference I recently heard) was something that rang over and over in my mind this morning.
And so, I watched with great joy, as I witnessed the real play going on in my children. It brought me great satisfaction.
When it was time to go home, Ian said "I have to go say goodbye to my oak tree friend."