Thursday, October 14, 2010

Simple Play

Years ago I was talking with a mom of many,
whose children played happily -with nothing-
and got along marvelously.  
They were a family of little means, whose home was sparsely furnished. 
I was amazed at her content children and asked her how she did it. 
She explained that she believed a child’s best friend in play is their imagination. 
She grew up on a farm with few objects to entertain her, 
and knew well the joy of make believe. 
Her 8 children could play inside or out for hours having all kinds of fun--
with nothing.  
They were quite possibly some of the happiest children I had ever seen.



When my brother came back from a trip to Honduras,
he told stories of whole villages of children that played and played with one soccer ball. 
All ages, running all over, running and giggling for hours on end,
delighted to have a single ball with which to play. 
In their huts, they had nothing, no furniture,
perhaps a table to prepare meals on and a sleeping mat on the floor. 
He said the children were all smiles all day, rarely quibbled,
and seemed as pleased as could be with their never ending game of soccer.

Our culture trains us well that we need things to make us happy,
when happiness really comes from a grateful heart,
not material possessions.
  It yells this untruthful philosophy at us so loud,
that I find I need to remind myself
and the children
regularly of the beauty of simplicity,


the contentedness found in thankfulness,
and the joy in serving others.


Raising our children to enjoy simple play may prepare them for contentedness later in life.
I look back on my own upbringing and realize that I, too,
found the most wonderful memories of play to be times of imaginary games.




Perhaps we do a disservice to our children by supplying them with gobs of entertainments.
Maybe teaching a small child to sit quietly in the car and travel without amusements,
but observations of the trip instead,
is more critical to their future happiness than we can imagine.

What if a parent could demonstrate and teach a young child
that serving others
brings more pleasure and lasting fulfillment than a trip to Toys R Us.
What kind of a generation could we raise?



2 comments:

Lily said...

Agreed. What a beautiful lifestyle you seem to have. I love the pictures of your kids; that was my brother and I so many years ago. We were happy to play with very little too.

It's hard to remember this living in the city though, and then working as well. I'm aware that God is training me though - if He could ever give a road sign, I've had one for a year and a half. That clear knowledge helps me to be patient.

Finding Balance mommy said...

We've been working on more outside time with no toys going out. It all started when a friend's kids came over to my mom's house which is on land and they though they were going to die when she said they had to stay outside and play. My mom said it was amazing. They were begging to come inside. So it began a new project in our family to have more outside imaginative play time....not sure about their family but it's been really good for us. It's gotten me outdoors more as well going on walks.