Monday, February 26, 2007

Work and Play

On this Monday morning, many of us are facing the prospects of another work week and may already be looking forward to the next weekend. Weekends though are often overbooked with chores and other obligations in our over-scheduled lives. Aimless days, cloud gazing, and spontaneous explorations are things we seldom talk about for fear of being labeled "lazy".

Young children work hard at play and learn much about their world by being allowed time to explore with their senses and imagination. School is usually anticipated with great pleasure in the early grades before the demarcation between work and play is learned. Competitive parents can do a disservice by enrolling their offspring to too many lessons, clubs and team sports leaving no free time for play.

In centuries past, many in the European upper classes enjoyed lifetimes of leisure, waited on by servants in large country estates as they earned their livings by renting out family owned lands. But out of this group came a large number of authors, painters, poets, musicians and inventors who are still admired today for their creativity.

I took the pictures below last week while I enjoyed some leisure time outdoors. We had a generous fall of packing snow on Wednesday night and it would have been so much fun to build a snowman. I watched children rolling the enormous snowballs and trying in vain to lift them on top of each other. Who could say that play is not work!

I hope you find some time this week to play.

We don't stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw

Be aware of wonder.
Live a balanced life -
learn some and think some and draw and paint and
sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Robert Fulghum

Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do.
Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.

Mark Twain


  1. Ruth, thank you, thank you! I really needed this post from you today. Robert Fulghum knows how to suggest paths to happiness.

    All work and no play is a disaster.

    I prefer play.

    And I agree, let the kids PLAY!

  2. Yes, I'd much rather play in the snow than work!

    I think schools are going too far too soon with the little ones - creative play is as important a skill, IMO, as the three R's.

  3. What fun seeing them play in the snow! Love the quotes Ruth.

  4. Thanks for the reminder that we all need play in our lives.

  5. That George Bernard Shaw quote is one of my favorites, I have it up by my desk. I think aimless days of wandering are a way to find personal growth, which surely can't be a lazy task.

    I'm trying to enjoy my week though today started off with 3 hours of dentist work but I walked home through the big park near where I live, Spring is just awakening here.

    Enjoy your week too :).

  6. Mary- I think our minds are strangely co-wired at times. Must be the birth year. Your post today demonstrated exactly the point I was making...

    Laura- I agree. What are we losing in our future when creative minds are stifled with too much curriculum and structure?

    Jayne- I love the joy in play too!

    Lynne- You live on a lovely playground...great for the imagination.

    Jaspenelle- You are a busy young woman, and I am glad you recognize the need to find unstructured pleasure each day, even if it includes a dentist.


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