Did you know that the rough-and-tumble play of children actually prevents violent behavior? Play is actually a science unto itself, because it can grow human talents and character across a lifetime. To any other parent that’s listening with a young child, you know, say a child over 3 but under 12, I ask you to think about this: if you just observe the children and don’t try and direct them, and watch what it is they like to do in play, you often will see a key to their innate talents. And if those talents are given fairly free reign, then you see that there is a union between self and talent … that this is nature’s way of sort of saying this is who you are and what you are. I’m sure if you go back and think about both of your children or yourself and go back to your earliest emotion-laden, visual, and visceral memories of what really gave you joy, you’ll have some sense of what was natural for you and where your talents lie. When crucial experiences are missed, the ability to regulate emotions and to establish empathy and to live with trust with one’s companions is definitely attenuated, or definitely constricted.
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” ~ Fred Rogers