I heard those words last night while I was outside doing a little yard clean up. It came from the front porch of the house next door where three small children were laughing and playing. A fourth child walked up and asked that simple question… “Can I play?” As crazy as it might sound, that question moved me and I waited for what seemed like an eternity to hear their answer. Finally, after a moment of contemplation, there was a quiet but unanimous “YES” from the other children.
I kept thinking about those words and how important play and acceptance are and what the answer to that question can do to the fragile emotions of a small child. What would happen if the answer had been “no”? Conflict? Maybe. Actually conflict might be better than a small child walking away feeling excluded and dejected. At least conflict still stands a chance of being resolved with a positive outcome.
And how many times does a person (child or adult) need to be rejected before they stop asking if they can play?
A good friend and high school classmate and teammate of mine Kevin Carroll has made it his life’s mission and has changed countless lives lecturing and discussing the significance of play and its necessity for people of all ages and all walks of life.
So what’s the solution? Play! Play often and play hard. Play with your family. Play with your friends. Ask to play with others and most importantly, if you are ever asked that same question, don’t hesitate. Be inclusive and let them play. Better yet, don’t even wait to be asked. Turn to the person on the sideline and ask….