25 May 2019

love, play and childhood

Photo by Blake Barlow via Unsplash. Creative Commons license

A life of significance is not found in what you accomplish, but in who you love. This is what children teach me. Never have I met a child who wants to have an account of my importance according to my resumé. Sadly, however, I have met some children who have been trained by accomplishment-driven adults to become accomplishment-driven themselves. I can see it in their eyes: the desire to please, to be regarded as special.

Nothing is more welcome to a child than to enjoy the presence of someone who wants to be with them not because of what they can do but just because of who they are. And the same is true for any person of any age. How liberating it is to be loved by someone who asks not “What have you done?” but rather asks in a pure, non-critical way, “How are you doing? Tell me honestly. I’m listening.”

This is really why I am passionate about play. Nothing communicates value quite like it for, in play, one is really saying: “I just want to be with you. I’m not here to get something out of you or to make you prove yourself to me. Let’s just enjoy being together.” Play makes space for love.

And this is how I think of God. Play makes space for God, because God makes space for love. And this is why I see God most clearly in children, and in people of any age who are well-practiced at living as a child-at-heart.


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