Saturday, March 10, 2012

Play ethic

My friend Carol sent me this little piece in the email yesterday, and what struck me about it was the definition of play:

"Play is anything done in joy -- including "work"!

In our environment we call what we do with materials "to work", we call the objects "materials", but when I worked with another teacher in the past, she called them "jobs." And I've heard parents tell children "I have to go to my work now, and your work is to come to school." And I have a little slip of paper on my wall at school with Maria Montessori's words "Work is the cure". And I am well aware of work being a human tendency (and have experienced a year of unemployment and can attest to the difficulty of existing without a defined work). And although I love my work (see, I even wrote it in my blog description), all this talk about work, and no talk about play. And the article, although simplistic, was a nice reminder.

:: The Play Ethic ::

According to the *work ethic* of our culture,
happiness comes from hard work and toil.
"No pain, no gain."

This contradicts the *play ethic* of nature:
maximizing pleasure while avoiding pain.

Nature always follows the path of least resistance.

Children naturally express the play ethic, and a lot
of parent-child conflict reflects the clash between
the two value systems.

Joyful parenting begins the moment you abandon the
work ethic and start taking play seriously. That
doesn't mean never working; play is anything done in
joy -- including "work"!

So if parenting feels like hard work to you, set your
sights on a new career of full-time play. But don't
change your routine yet. Start with a change in

Focus on the pleasure potential in every moment and,
gradually, a joyful new routine will evolve to match
your intentions.

From here:

It also brings to mind a question that's been lingering since I had a conversation with some folks at an airport on my where to somewhere some weeks ago:

Do you work to live, or do you live to work?

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