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Full Life Martial Arts

Play, and our brains.

Posted: November 16, 2020

I love to read.  These days, it's mostly in audio format. And I've decided that I want to share some of my favorite books in 2020.

So, I talk to many, many parents who want their kids to be their best.  In fact, that is why they bring them to Full Life.  My hat's off to you parents, because many of you are among the most loving, concerned, do-it-better-than-I-had-it types of parents.  Truly, the best.

Well, I've been listening to the book Play, by Stuart Brown, MD. (Pick it up! It's an excellent read.)

And, I see that I struggle with play, often hyper-responsible, conscientious. Perhaps because I am the oldest child in my family of origin, or because I had four sons in the span of five years, or because I've experienced many traumatic incidents, which keep me on my toes, watching for the next disaster. (Walking Dead fan right here. I confess.)

It has been my greatest lesson learned in my life...that I need to PLAY. 

This is why God blessed me with two younger brothers, and four sons.  Because boys play in the best rough and tumble kind of way. YES! 

Did you know there are at least seven different types of play? You know, before reading this book, play meant sports (I am terrible), art (I am excellent)...and then, I would draw a blank. I mean, I am so bad at sports.  I was the kid who was too chubby, and slow, an academic geek, and excruciatingly shy. As a kid, play for me was mostly spent alone, in imaginative times with my stuffed toys, blankets and dolls. I was an only child for 10 years, before my brothers showed up. (I was bored, but didn't know it.)

Hey, we have to remember that our kids are imperfect, vulnerable, inherently selfish, incessantly active, and incredibly valuable.  They are NOT adults. Now, some so-called adults are actually kids in big, hairy bodies, right? (Don't look at the person next to you. Just. don't.) But so often, we as parents get MAD at our kids when they act like that. 

Newsflash! That is how kids are supposed to act. 

But what really blew my mind was how important play is in the development of our kid's brains. In fact, Dr. Brown noticed that serial murderers have something in common: many have childhoods devoid of play and full of cruelty.

So, are you the parent who squelches play because "there are better things to do?" Or are you the one that gets on the floor to play with legos, even though the dishes need to be finished? Or do you yell at your spouse who is swinging the toddler around the room, laughing, because they are "horsing around"?

That's why when I work closely with students who have learning issues, parents and students receive home-PLAY to do every day. 

Play might be our most important work for our well-being.