August 6, 2010

Humility & Play

Category: Family :: Permalink

In a previous blog entry, I discussed mainly the things I didn’t care for in Keri Wyatt Kent’s Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity.  I was struck, however, by something she said in a chapter on playing.  She’s speaking of the importance of humility:

But how do we cultivate humility?  It’s not easy in our culture, which lauds individual opinions and accomplishments, which teaches that self-esteem and self-confidence are of the highest value.  But I believe playfulness is a path to humility….

Play stretches our ability to be a fool, to engage in that which has no purpose other than simple joy.  Play forces us to loosen our grip on our ambition for a while; it trains us, almost subversively … in humility.  We often want to avoid the risk involved with being silly (159).

Children, of course, don’t mind being silly.  After we have supper and read the Bible and pray, my children leap off their chairs and do their silly dance, while Moriah and I laugh.  It would be possible for me to join them, though I usually don’t, but I can assure you that I wouldn’t be likely to if you were having supper with us.  In fact, I suspect that a lot of (sober) adults don’t dance or even try to dance because they are afraid of looking foolish.  “I don’t know how to do it very well,” we say, and so we don’t try.  But “I don’t know how to do it very well” has never stopped my daughter from dancing.

Perhaps Kent is correct in suggesting that we adults ought to play more with our children, to forget ourselves and our sense of our importance and dignity and enter fully into their play, and thereby learn humility from our children.

Posted by John Barach @ 2:41 pm | Discuss (0)

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