Playful

Posted: November 23, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty

playful

 

My fun-o-meter needs frequent re-calibration.   I love to laugh, but I’m not naturally playful.  I go through life as if there might be a pop quiz any moment. I need to be encouraged out of my daily rigidity and regimentation, invited to participate in the gleefully goofy. Luckily, loved ones in my life bring me these indispensable opportunities in abundance.

About a decade ago, I began a holiday family tradition of Christmas games with my entire family: my mom, six brothers and sisters, their six spouses, and their fifteen offspring.  It’s a full room. My intention was to encourage my family to enjoy the time we spent together, not just get in each other’s way in the buffet line. Nevertheless, my inner educator tended toward handouts and formal games, amusing, but still somewhat restrained. Game playing has been expanded and enriched by my more mischievous relatives.  Last year, my sister Barbara lead a ridiculous game that involved lying on the ground and manipulating candy canes without using your hands for no apparent purpose. The image of my family members wriggling around on the floor is, in a word, unforgettable.

Spending time with my favorite seven-year-old in the world is all fun and games. He has limitless energy. We play every minute: Boggle and Scrabble and hangman, indoor basketball, and anything outside when the weather is warm, and made-up games aplenty. At Cubs games, we climb up to the top of the stadium to enjoy the view. In order to get back to our seats, we spread our arms like airplane wings and soar down the ramps at Wrigley Field; I can’t imagine a better afternoon.  After a few hours in his adorable company, I am energized and exhausted, younger and happier somehow, too.

airplanes

One of the most lovable attributes my friends share is silliness. I’m not sure how these bizarre people found their way into my life, but I remain forever grateful. This past Sunday, I enjoyed a living room filled with laughter as I hosted some members of my Urban Family for Friendsgiving.

When I invite my friends into my home, they invariably find the opportunity to tease me (which I long ago mistook for affection). Their antics are nothing if not inventive, tormenting me via remarkable means.  For instance, when my friends Jenny & Jen visited the spring after college graduation, they waited until I fell asleep to hide the elaborately decorated Easter eggs I specifically asked them not to touch (foolish mistake). They sought out places that no sane egg hunter would ever consider; thus, I was forced to locate the eggs and then re-hide them, much to their fiendish delight.

My Urban Family in Chicago has taken a cue from this strategy, and in my absence or distraction, they have collectively re-arranged the artwork on my walls, stashed candy canes all over my apartment, replaced knick-knacks on different shelves, and even re-positioned large furniture. The fact that I find these stunts hilarious is hardly a deterrent, but I confess their absurdity makes every event more enjoyable.

silliness

To encourage conversation in my classrooms, I bring a ball of yarn or a set of light-up balls (spheres, if you prefer to avoid the giggling the word “balls” can produce, even among adults). Throwing spheres around class may seem childish, but I don’t consider that an insult. Letting silliness enter into our work and learning and relationships provides a tremendous way to simply enjoy being alive.

In dark days, laughter becomes even more crucial. When the world becomes too heavy, remember to add a little levity.

 

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Comments
  1. Jackie says:

    Hi playful, it seems like you guys had a wonderful time, Happy to see families enjoy family,Holidays and good times are special to families and friends hope you enjoy the rest of the year doing both. Enjoy the holidays !!!!!!

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