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To Play or Not To

wwu2's picture



            There was a child who spent most of her time roaming the stacks of homework, calculating formulas papers by papers. In the meantime, her mother was always criticizing the little girl for her not practicing the piano and dance. Every night she rushed to finish piles of studying; therefore, she barely had leisure to meet with friends, watch TV or even go out to play. This child is me. I have a monotonous over-scheduled childhood, Even I was versatile and somewhat strong in academics yet am diffident to talk with people, had no friends, and hardly knew any TV shows or movies. I wasn’t happy and always longed for plays. So is playing necessary?

            Children need to play. In the article “Talking Play Seriously”, an biologist Marc Berkoff supports this idea by stating “play is at its core a behavioral kaleidoscope”, and it “contributes to the growth of more supple, more flexible brains.” In this perspective, the more children plays, the more social, pleasant, stimulated people’s life. This flexibility hypothesis enhances the importance of play. Another convincing view is the play-as-preparation hypothesis: play is “good preparation for adulthood, a chance to learn and rehearse the skills animals will need for the rest of their lives” (Talking Play Seriously). Through play, some of generalized movement of survival can be learned “when the setting is less sage and the need more urgent” (Talking Play Seriously).

            Even though play can make children creative, agile and intelligent, it also has its dark side. Weilla’s webby post describes that when she gets back home late from a friend’s birthday party her parents give her “a two-hour lecture on the ‘useless playing’.” It is undeniable that her parents impede her intention to play, but is ‘useless playing’ the true purpose of this lecture or is it because of something else? Weilla claims that that night she “gets attracted by a movie marathon”, “completely loses track of time” and finishes three full movies though she only asks for “an one-movie permission”. In this case, Weilla does make a mistake: she promises yet disobeys her parents. What if her parents simply want to teach her abstinence and worry about her safety? Unsophisticated as children, without limitation they go wild and do whatever they want regardless of any circumstances. But can the youngsters always distinguish between right and wrong? Complete freedom, on the contrary, will impede children from growing up. Therefore, they need a well-experienced adult to guide them towards the right direction. Although sometimes harsh, parent’s limitation is actually to educate and do good for their children.

            Play is “the essence of good”, the most stress-free and joyful. So play is essential in childrens life, but, only with parents opportune guidance, play can truly benefit the children and maximize its advantage. However, how can we define “opportune”? In what degree of playing the children can feel not restrained but also get parents approve?


Work Cited

Yuan, Weilla. "Limited Playing Time." Serendip Studio. N.p., 28 Sept. 2014. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.

Henig, Robin Marantz. "Taking Play Seriously." The New York Times Magazine. N.p., 17 Feb. 2008. Web. 10 Oct. 2014