The Power of Play

Kids playing

In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

The London 2012 Olympic games, like the previous games, celebrated athletic achievement and in the process brought the best in humanity—a desire for genuine participation and connection.

A few things stand out about these particular games that reinforce the power of play and the best in humanity.

  • For the first time in history of the games, every nation had women participating. A lot of the flag bearers were women as well. This is progress in action.
  • There were more nations participating in the games than there are countries in the United Nations. Play triumphed politics. And that’s not surprising at all.
  • London showed its beautiful humanity by honoring the past, celebrating the present, and entrusting the future to the youth of today—an evolutionary step towards more respect and appreciation.

One of the few things I like to watch is the parade of nations. Everyone looks happy and excited to be here. You can’t tell who’s coming from a hostile regime or a dangerous place. Everyone is here to celebrate and do the best they can. Everyone is human.

Play is powerful in so many ways. It reminds us of our innocence … of our playful nature … our curiosity and our desire to grow.

Play is like sleep. It’s necessary to our well-being.

Have you ever looked at someone sleeping? No matter who they are, they look peaceful and innocent. The same is with play. When you see someone playing and having a good time, they look innocent and at ease.

Sleep renews the body and play purifies the heart and soul.

I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind. ~Leo Buscaglia

Taking play to a new level

Instead of games sponsored by governments:

Imagine if 5 year olds were in charge—a global game for kids and anyone who wants to act like one. We can call it the kidlympics.

There would be no need to be a pro spending years and hard long hours practicing and perfecting a particular sport. No shattered dreams or broken hearts. No copyrights, trademarks, or sponsorship. Everyone is a pro at one thing—having fun.

How would the 5 year olds organize the games? What would they play and how would they celebrate?

I imagine they would have toys instead of flags. Every kid will parade with his or her favorite toy in the opening ceremony. The kids who have more than one toy can give a toy to someone who doesn’t have one.

The ceremony will be one big party with lots of music and crazy dancing.

They will play with a ball in any way they want. The balls are in all sizes. They can kick a ball, throw it, or bounce on it. It’s all fun.

The participants will shoot water guns. They’ll have a blast going down water slides. The diving consists of cannon-balling and making the biggest splash.

Kids will ride their bikes. Maybe fly kites, jump on a trampoline, and chase each other around the field.

Everyone gets a medal for participating. There are no gold, silver, or bronze medals. These are special magical medals of either candy or gum. Each can have what they want.

The closing ceremony will be more of the same—kids with toys dancing and acting goofy. Having fun without a worry in the world. There will be no rank of medals and no sadness for losing. There are no losers; everyone is a winner for being here.

We can all feel like a five-year-old kid if we allow ourselves to. Why can’t we play all the time?

No one is stopping us. We don’t have to wait four years. We can play today and every day, or at least some days.

We play games; we play sports; we play music and we act in plays.

Art is play, movement is play, and nature is play.

We were meant to play—just like we were meant to rest and sleep.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Khalil Gibran