I don’t know about you, but I love to play. I enjoy a rousing game that involves movement and lots of laughter. I feel more alive when I’m using my whole body and releasing endorphins from laughter.
I was listening to NPR and heard a story about play during the school day. The average American school kid gets 27 minutes for recess — and that number is falling. Other countries put a much higher premium on unregulated play. Are they onto something? What with our over programmed lives and our need to be connected to the internet constantly, are we forgetting how to have fun?
When was the last time that your congregation hosted an all ages game night? When did you have a pot luck meal at church with no agenda other than to enjoy one another’s company? Have you ever had a music night where people brought their various instruments and took turns playing for each other? Or having a drumming circle which invited anyone to pick up some form of rhythm instrument and made fun together? What about softball games between teens and adults? Croquet anyone?
What I’m driving at is that it doesn’t take much to have fun together as a community of faith. When we have taught the Healthy Congregation workshops, one of the things we ask participants is how much does their congregation have fun and play together. The amount of fun and laughter is an indication of health in a congregation.
I have a book in my library that was written back in 1990. The title is Everyone Wins! And it is full of cooperative games and activities for all ages. Even though it is almost 25 years old, the games are timeless. They build self-esteem, enhance communication, allow people to laugh together and have fun. They are age appropriate for a wide range from age one up past age nine and can vary from one to more than eight players at a time. I’m sure that many of them could also include older youth and adults in the play.
Now that June is here, the church year is winding down. There should be more free time for play in the RE program as well as with the adults. During this lull, have some fun, play fun activities with each other. Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.
I will be sixty-six this fall. I expect to have more time to play after I retire from district work. But those of you who know me already have seen that I love to play and I will, in the words of Peter Pan, never grow up! While my body may limit the play that I am capable, I’ll keep on having fun until the day I die.
So let’s make a play date, shall we?
Yours in the Faith,