On Play and Love

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Play and Dr. King both teach us that in attempting to change things for the better, the best place to start is by practicing kindness and empathy with ourselves

I was having a conversation with a coworker about all the recent strife and conflict in the world, and the question about the relevance of the work we do arose. When people are dying and so overwhelmed by hatred and anger, does it really make a difference to be focusing on play and recess?

I re-read Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail every year in honor of his birthday because I believe it is one of the most beautiful and inspiring pieces of American writing ever penned. But in reflecting on this particular question—the importance and relevance of play during periods of unrest and antagonism—Dr. King’s writing on agape, one of the four major Greek words for love, is what came to mind.

“Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive good will toward all men. Agape is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return.”

                                            -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., December, 1967

Play matters for a whole host of reasons, but perhaps most relevant for these current times, play matters because it provides an experiential basis for learning to love one another, even when we can’t agree.  Even when we don’t really like one another. Play teaches us how to get along. And, so while it may seem easy to dismiss play, recent events would suggest that nothing could be more important.

Play and Dr. King both also teach us that in attempting to change things for the better, the best place to start is by practicing kindness and empathy with ourselves. I am fond of saying that whatever the question, the answer is more love. But Dr. King said it better:

“I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization.”

                                            -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957

Happy birthday, Dr. King. And happy birthday to us all.

 

More Updates


May 27, 2020

Play At Home: Week of June 1, 2020 ›

Social-Emotional Skill of the Week: Social Awareness & Perspective Taking Perspective-taking is the ability to see a situation from the viewpoint of another person–understanding their feelings, intentions, thoughts, or view of a particular situation. Resources for the Week of June 1, 2020 Game of the Day Challenge Are you ready to #PlayAtHome? We are challenging…

May 20, 2020

Play At Home: Week of May 25, 2020 ›

Social-Emotional Skill of the Week: Social Awareness Social awareness is the ability to empathize with and understand the perspective of someone else, even though their background and culture might be different from yours. Resources for the Week of May 25, 2020 Game of the Day Challenge Are you ready to #PlayAtHome? We are challenging students…

May 19, 2020

The New Balance Foundation Teams Up with Playworks to Help Kids Stay Active During COVID-19 Crisis ›

The New Balance Foundation is excited to announce a $100,000 grant to support Playworks’ Play At Home, a suite of digital resources designed to ensure all children have access to physical activity, social and emotional learning, and play during this prolonged period of out-of-school time. For over 24 years, Playworks has worked with elementary schools…