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Fitting in to Stand out

Free Rein's picture

“Play gives you hope for a better tomorrow…” (Henig, 20) After analysing the text, Taking Play Seriously, the author writes about the importance of play. Cathyyy also writes that, “Playing with people on the trip and having all those kinds of different travelling experiences are one of my most favorite memories in my life. I believe that play fostered me, in the way of making me an out-going and optimistic person.” Well, I agree with the author’s and Cathyyy’s view about play but on the other hand, does play have grave detrimental effects in the growth process of children?

Most of us argue that a child is entitled to play. That recent play is incomparable to the play held in the past. That children have no time left for the real meaning of childhood because their idea of play has been corrupted by the modern technology. A coin has two sides. We often than not focus on the importance of play and forget the negative effects that play can have on a child’s life. The kind of traumatizing and devastating effects associated with play. Children play tend to have social structures based on many factors ranging from good mastery of the game, wealth status of their families, beauty to body size. You know how children can be.

I digress. Dating back to my childhood experience of play, we had formed groups amongst ourselves. Each group had a leader who was ‘crowned’ based on his/her prowess in the different kinds of play. Everyone, I included, wanted to be part of a clique where the leader had mastery of all kinds of games. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a successive movement anyway? I had joined two groups; one at home and the other in school. The pack would abide by the rules of the group, and whoever happened to be hard-headed would be kicked out of the pack.

I recall an incident in my home clique, where one of us had a birthday party. As it was the norm, we were invited to attend the birthday party which was supposed to commence at 4:00 pm. We went in the usual birthday mood; excited and all. However, the party delayed by almost two hours. Most of us got impatient and made ‘threats’ to leave but the birthday kid kept assuring us that it was going down in the next couple of minutes. We didn’t know what had gone amiss. From the look of things, everything was there; snacks and of course the cake. Everyone was present apart from Wesley, who was our leader. The guy didn’t want to start the party because he did not want to face the repercussions of holding the party in absentia of the ring leader.

There were several other incidents where no one would attend an event of a kid who didn’t follow the group rules or when the leader had given an order not to or was not a member of the group. Of course, the leader would give an order and it had to be followed without fail. Also, I remember while we were in school, the leader was too bossy. She made us take her saliva and even stones and we sheepishly agreed because refuting would lead to something else. You would be discriminated and nobody would want to be your ally.  

The other side of play is undesirable. Being looked down upon because of economic status of your family hence you cannot meet the demands of the group. Being made a scapegoat of any situation. Being bossed around by other kids. Being considered as a social misfit. May be that’s why we barely mention about it. We fail to understand the reason behind most kids’ preference for video games to social play. We fail to dig deeply the reason why most kids like to be associated with adults rather than children of their own age. The reason why some of the children are reluctant to join others while playing.

Although play is a fundamental process of growth, children who have experienced negative play tend to have recessive growth. Most of them become recluses. This affects their adulthood and may or may not develop resistance like being unsocial while some of them barely want the thought of childhood play to strike them because it hurts.

Works Cited;

Robin Henig, Taking Play Seriously, New York Times (Feb. 17, 2008).

Cathyyy, Memories of Play: Serendip.