Play has value for both children and adults. It is a safety valve for the emotions. It improves physical coordination. It develops social skills. And it may keep someone from taking himself too seriously. When balanced by the discipline of work – in the classroom, at home, in society – recreation serves a useful purpose.
In past generations most adults didn’t recognize the importance of this. They worked hard from dawn till dusk, as did their little 5-year-olds who helped in the fields or herded cattle. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, employers used small children as chimney sweeps, made them pull heavy loads in narrow mine tunnels, and chained them to machines for long hours, 6 days a week.
Few parents today would subject their children to such conditions. But in a different way some unwittingly deprive them of the enjoyment and advantages of real play. They place so much emphasis on success and winning that they push their children too hard. When a child strikes out with the bases loaded or misses a note in the piano recital, he is made to feel that it is a major tragedy.
I love to hear the sound of children at play, and I think God does too. He said that Jerusalem under the fullness of His blessing will one day be filled with playing children. When accompanied by loving discipline and reasonable work assignments, play is a vital ingredient in a healthy life.
Never let preoccupation with your children’s success rob you or them of the benefits of play. – Herbert Vander Lugt
“Permit the children,” said Jesus one day,
Rebuking those who said, “Send them away!”
Likewise we parents must watch what we say,
Guiding our children in work and in play. – Branon
A family with no play won’t work.
- May 17, 1985, Our Daily Bread