Using the Virtue of Playfulness to Be of Service
One of the great bounties of my life for which I am eternally grateful is having grown up in a family whose father taught physical education along with my next door neighbor’s father along with other relatives. We learned how to play. It comes so natural to me that I can’t imagine how people could not have it. This past week was a week long break from school for me so my wife, who teaches English twice a week to translators who work for the UN High Commission on Refugees and who are mostly from Myanmar, asked me if I wouldn’t do some training for one of her students who has a school for about 40 children.
You never know quite to expect when you do this type of service. Really the only thing I knew ahead of time was that I would have a lot of kids and a big field that just happened to be across the street from the school which is located upstairs in a shop lot in Kuala Lumpur. The first game we played was a tag game like foxes and chickens.
I tried to introduce snake tag where the children have to make a long snake and then tag other, but it really didn’t work. For one thing I was speaking in English and they didn’t understand it. The translation didn’t quite click for them. When you have the virtue of playfulness, you allow a lot of flexibility and adaptability in because in this type of group things never really work out how you expect them. The great thing about tag games is that everyone does a lot of running. They really help fitness.
Next I just gave each pair of students a tennis ball to play catch with. They would take a step back each time they were successful. Then we played dodge ball. In all of my experience I think that this maybe dodge ball is the best loved game in the world for children and adults alike. We played it in a circle.
Then we introduced some group juggling and finally did some running races.
Kids are great wherever you go, but really you have to be able to act with playfulness which is the virtue they seem to have in abundance to relate to them. I am looking for the next time we go when we will introduce yoga and other things to do in a smaller space indoors.