I played today. Yeah, that’s right, I played. No, I’m not talking about joining in a silly game with my students or busting out a cape to run around with my sons. I do that every day…well almost, sometimes we play legos or color. No, today I played with adults. I shot around the basketball, danced, painted, took silly photos, cheered on their ping pong and high-fived their attempts to dig for a beachball volley.
There is a kid in us all. As much as we may downplay it, put it away, or shove it into an under-the-bed compartment, we have all been kids and therefore, somewhere, there is a child-like innocence inside us. I saw teachers that normally wear a perma-frown as they walk, head-down, through the hallways-thaw under the spotlight of the Zumba dance floor, teachers who carry the weight of the world-fling their arms in the air after getting a golf ball into a hole, and teachers who haven’t laughed in weeks because of one thing or another-giggling as they moved from the dress-up “photo-booth” table to find what was next in their play-journey.
I know that teachers are attempting to gain more of a reputation as “professionals” and not the stereotypes of old, but that doesn’t mean we have to act like the curmudgeonly nasty bankers from Mary Poppins. NO! We teach children. How can we reach a child if we can’t reach our own inner child?
I don’t think it stops with elementary teachers or any teacher for that matter. I don’t think it stops with people who work with children in any aspect, either, I think it keeps going…I think everyone needs to take themselves a little less seriously and know that sometimes you just need to cut loose and do something not so adult. And that also means that you don’t need to have an adult beverage with it either. When is the last time you played hop-scotch or dressed-up on a day that didn’t mark the end of the tenth month? When is the last time you played tag or painted? We tell kids all the time that as adults you have to work before you can play…but do we really play? Or do we just escape, hide, or try to forget?
I played today. Like a little child with patched knees on his jeans, dirt in my fingernails, and the smell of fresh air in my hair. I played hard and it felt good.