The Reason Why People Don’t Hold On to Their Kids
Last night I had a dream in which I was getting a lot of kids to be involved with play, but then their were parents standing around and they kept getting in the way, and then in the next chapter of my dream I couldn’t find any of my things in the place where I usually kept them. I had tried to think about going to the administration to get them to solve the situation, but didn’t. So when I woke up and began to think about the dream, it began to dawn on me why parents lose hold on their kids after their kids enter school. It is so clear to every child in the universe that the main motivation in their life is play. This is what drives them, but as soon as a child enters school the rift between the parents and the child begins because parents try to get their children to be more serious, responsible, hard-working so that they dedicate themselves entirely to academic work.
At some point in most people’s lives they start believing that play is secondary to hard, serious work and if they are playing a lot, that they should stop and get back to serious work. Children don’t have this issue because they intrinsically know that play leads to mastery. Children get it that hard work is done when you are extremely playful.
It seems like all of the adults I have been running into lately have this problem. They would like to play more or work less, but it is extremely difficult for them to get to play. My problem in the dream with the parents is that when they get in the way, I try to go to the old structure, the old way of doing things like going to a school administrator to get the parents out of the way, but in real life the old structure is aligned with the parents so I get nowhere. The parents and administrators are trying to control or stop play so that the children will work harder, but that is exactly when they lose the children. Children and adults learn to work longer and harder by being more playful, by being free to make lots of mistakes. It is only when the work and play are one, that the parents can ever hope to hold onto their children.
So I think that the reason I couldn’t find my stuff in the old places where it used to be is because the things I need are in a new structure, a new order, and new place. I think that maybe the main characteristic of that new order is the freedom to make lots of mistakes. When a person is in the work hard mode, they lose their freedom and in so doing lose their kids and the life they would like to live because they are not free to make constant mistakes so that they can keep learning. They live a life of order and sameness and it is exactly when they try to get their children to lead that kind of life, that they lose them.
A child’s life is about constant change and growth which requires lots of play and mistakes. So I think that the thing we need most to have a great relationship with our kids is do what they do, not to try to make them act like us.
You are so right, play is SO important. It truly saddens me when I see parents sending their kids for tuition for hours a day on TOP of regular school hours. Plus lesson for music, art, and sports. When do these kids get to PLAY? I know SO much of what I learned when I was a child was from playing. I don’t remember much of the lessons I learned in school, but I remember turning a pile of recycle and art materials into an awesome car for our barbie dolls. Talk about a lesson in perseverance and cooperation. Parents here in Malaysia seem to be even more intent on their children doing well in school than in the US. And now people are even so intent on their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers learning lessons. Who cares if your 2 year old doesn’t know how to read?? I wish more people would chill out and just let their kids play!