“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.” – Albert Einstein
I love that Einstein includes “play” in his formula for success.
Play = work + play + keeping your mouth shut
I think our culture doesn’t value “play” enough. Although I’ve always believed play was important, as a father, I’m beginning to recognize it even more. My children are becoming who they are as they play. They learn how to interact with each other as well as how to interact with the world around them. When they play they develop their creative sides and grow their imaginations. They become inventors who search out solutions to problems and discover how things work.
If adults valued play more, I wonder how many would become innovators? If we “played” at our jobs instead of “working” at them, I believe our attitudes would be different and we’d even be more productive. We’d also have more friends at our workplaces.
“The usual mantra is to ‘try harder’. Trying harder is impossible when you’re already trying as hard as you can. But you can always try different. . . If it’s not working, harder might not be the answer.”
I think this is awesome! The world has forgotten how to “play” and yet, they long for opportunities and jump at the chance for a little fun. I wonder what other ways we could be subversive and create more “play” opportunities like this? I wonder what Jesus would have thought about this kind of thing? I think most of His contemporaries would have thought it was a waste of time, but somehow I think Jesus would have stood up for it. He opened the way for the children to come to him and then told everyone they were supposed to be like them. As a father, it’s my job to roll around on the floor wrestling with my son and to play chase down the hallway. If Jesus were in my house when I come home from work, I can’t imagine that He wouldn’t join in on the fun.
Anyway, Leonard Sweet posted this video and I just had to share it. He also has a few things to say about “play” in his book Soul Tsunami. I wrote about it in another post quite a while back. Check it out here: Play
She’s been crawling a little here and there this week, but I was finally able to capture it on video. She was chewing on a plastic fish toy and so we set it out in front of her. It’s a bit intimidating to think about having 2 mobile children under 2yrs old in one house, but still very exciting times. Anyway, here it is:
Everyone seems to agree there are fewer true leaders in the world today than in any other previous generation. I wonder why? Here’s my BIG thought: I wonder if the lack of leadership is somehow connected to the lack of “play” in the world? Let me explain.
It’s has always been a pet-peeve of mine that kids today don’t know how to play. They are good at wasting time with TV or video games, but “play” is a whole different thing. You’ve gotta be creative to play. You have to use your imagination to play. (By the way, in the Scriptures, the very first characteristic God chooses to reveal to us about Himself is His creativity. Then He says we’re made in His image.) Play revolves around creating stories and scenes and situations. You’ve gotta be willing to look foolish if you’re gonna “pretend” anything – and what is play without pretending something? Remember when you used to play hide-n-seek. I remember imagining that I was the good guy who was hiding from the dreaded evil enemy. I remember playing football and pretending to be the radio announcer as the game winning touchdown was scored. My parents didn’t look down on me for those days. They didn’t think I was foolish. They laughed and enjoyed my creativity. They encouraged my imagination. They imagined with me. In play, we learned about the world. We began to understand how it worked. We developed deep friendships – in some ways they were probably deeper relationships than our current ones.
What if leaders began to “play” more? What if they imagined and weren’t afraid of looking foolish? What we created a culture of “play” where everyone was a part of it and no one really felt intimidated to join in on the fun? When we “play,” we don’t have to feel insecure, ’cause it’s just for fun anyway. If we taught our children to play more (by playing with them) would their generation have more leaders? I think it would.
If our leaders were allowed to imagine more, dream more, how many of us would dream with them? If they were allowed to “play” with stuff until they figured it out, what new innovations would we have?
In his book “Soul Tsunami,” Leonard Sweet says:
He (Jesus) displayed a genius for never growing up. He didn’t have much use for work. In fact he attracted his disciples by calling them from work: ‘Let others work, even bury their dead. You follow me.’ (Matthew 8:18-22)
Ask someone born before 1964, “What do you do?” and you will find out where they work, what their title is, what they “do” for a living. Ask someone born after 1964, “What do you do?” and you are as likely to find out that they dirt-bike, mountain-climb, net-surf, sea-kayak – in other words, they define themselves more by “life-first” than “work-first” commitments. . . .
If you want to make a violin sing, do you “work” at it? No, you “play” a violin. It takes a lot of “practice,” but the “practice” leads to “playing” the instrument. I want my marriage to sing. That’s why my wife and I don’t “work” at our marriage; we “play” at our marriage. . . I don’t want the Scriptures to “work” in my life; I want them to “play” in my life.
Erwin McManus says:
People don’t get “burn out” from too much work, but from not enjoying their work.
Anyway, leaders should learn to play and play hard – not just when they’re away from the office, but even while they’re in it. Work should never really be work – it should be enjoyable – going to the office should be like entering the playground where you are free to express yourself (within the boundaries) and imagine and create and dream and get others to join you in it all. When you leave, you might have some dirt to clean off, but you’re still excited about coming back to play again the next day.
PS – I have watched children and on the playground, it’s the ones who imagine and dream and are willing to look foolish who end up leading the other kids. Leaders play. Players lead.
I’ve told you guys quite a bit about my nephew Tyler. Here’s a story about his younger brother, Tucker.
Tucker and Tyler were really into the “Lord of the Rings” movies, so we played swords a lot during those days. (I couldn’t find a pic with swords – only this one of Tucker with the hulk hands – we used to do battle with them too.) One day while playing with Tucker, we slung the swords at each other like crazy and as the swinging ceased for a brief moment, he decided that he had beat me. There was no real reason – he just said that he had beat me. I was still holding my sword though. He pushed his sword up to my chest and demanded for me to drop my sword. I acted as if I were going to and then started swinging again. He wouldn’t fight back though. Why? According to him, he had already beat me. So I let him put his sword in my chest again and we began this dialog.
I said, “Why should I drop my sword? I’ll never let you kill me. Never surrender!!”
He said, “You will.”
“Why would I do that?”
“‘Cause I said so.” (let me remind you that he was about 3 feet tall.)
“No, I won’t surrender. . . . . .Ever.”
“Yes, you will,” he said.
One more time I asked, “Why would I do that?” Then I dropped my sword.
He dropped his too and ran to me with arms wide open saying, “This is why.”
He hugged me as hard as he could and I held him too.
I actually held him and said in my most evil voice, “Now, I’ve got you!” And we played the “You can’t escape game.”
Anyway, later that night when I laid down for bed I wondered if there had been times when I was trying to fight or do battle with the world, and God just wanted a hug? I wondered what would have happened if I had never dropped my sword with Tucker? What about other people that I think I need to do battle with? Is there a way I could hug them instead of fighting? Would I allow myself to drop my sword with them?