A playful mind thrives on ambiguity, complexity, experimentation, and improvisation, so when I was recently asked if “Play is Work, should Work not be Play”, it was as if they had read my mind. In my evolving mind, the play-work differential is an extension of child-adult differential, the seemingly simple world of children juxtaposed against the seemingly complex world of the adults!
Thinking through the paradigm of the child-adult differential, one can see the very delicate and precious thread of play linking the world of the child and the world of the adult. Looking through the bifocal lens, the adult gazes at the future at a great distance and the child tries to make sense of world in front of him at present. I try to make sense of some gaping disconnects, a few realizations and catchy catechisms.
The boundaries begin to blur as I wonder:
- Why are artists more creative than corporate professionals?
- Why do we sit in awe at the circus or Tom and Jerry Show?
- Why do we have more game players than game designers?
- Why is it that when we talk of play for our children, the first thing that comes to mind is toys?
- Why is our capacity to self-regulate on the decline, as evident in our daily environment and news headlines?
- Are we personalizing for professionalizing parenthood?
- Are works of worth created by multitasking or by play-like rapt engagement?
- Why is it that adults pack up instantly when it is time, but kids want to prolong their activity with complete disregard to time?
- Why do adults miss something right under their nose (quite literally – “What are the lines between the nose and mouth called?), while children have an eye for details?
- Why is that a very learned me does not have satisfactory answers to simple factual questions of my four year old like the one mentioned above and the question is followed by another while he can come up with very original, plausible and logical answers to all my questions?
In the 1985 movie, The Sure Thing, the lead lady (played by Daphne Zuniga), defends herself when accused of being uptight with, “I am as spontaneous as anyone. I simply believe that spontaneity has its time and place.”
Adults must relearn the art of playfulness. Actually, most of us are quite willing, just waiting for permission/validation.