I was watching the NBA playoffs last night when a commercial for Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium came on. I remember watching this movie, starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman, on one of my many trips abroad. (Note: If you want to catch up on your movies take a trip to Asia. You’ll watch more movies than you can remember.) I put this movie in the same movie genre as a Hook and Jumanji. All of these movies have to do with play; but not only with kids, but with adults as well.
That commercial last night got me thinking about play in the lives of missionaries, and even more broadly in the lives of adults. I find that adults often times become engulfed in work and family, both of which are necessary and good; but when they become the overarching and sole function in a person’s life there occurs stagnation, a stalling. Listening to Krista Tippet interview Stuart Brown, I learned that little to no play in a person’s life can lead to rigidity, depression, and a lack of adaptability.
In counseling missionaries and, more generally adults, I see this phenomenon constantly. These well meaning folks are off balance in his or her life, leaving play completely out of the life cycle. In times when I see a person who is lacking play, I encourage them to put work aside and go do something he or she enjoys.
- Go to the pound and play with animals.
- Take a camping trip.
- Have a night out with the girls.
- Go play roughly with your kids or your friend’s kids.
All of these things will begin to spur creativity and open neural pathways once petrified. Acts of play will magnetize you closer to the heart of God: The maker of play.
What thoughts do you have about play? Do you play enough? What other areas can you play in that weren’t mentioned above?