What Grandchildren Teach Us About Play

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What's next, Papa?”

- Romans 8:15 (The Message)

Our three-year-old granddaughter, Miriam, has an agenda for my life—to play with her.

By the time we reach our silver years, play can begin gathering dust in a back corner of our lives. That's when God sends in the experts to give us a tutorial. Enter grandchildren.

Without even trying, Miriam is proving to be one of the best teachers I've ever had. It's because little ones have this play business all figured out. They awake saying, “What's next, Papa?”, then proceed to play their way through their day. Their play is delightful, wholehearted, unselfconscious and spiced with laughter.

What stands out most to me about a child's play is the way it is woven throughout their day. I wonder what that would look like for an adult. Perhaps it would be doing the grown-up version of what a child does—cooking a mudpie, driving a car, riding a horsey or a bike, throwing a ball, digging in dirt (aka gardening), splashing in water (aka doing the dishes), having a tea party—and doing it delightfully, wholeheartedly and unselfconsciously.

Miriam and her soon-to-arrive little cousin Indy have their whole childhoods to help me learn to play again. I hope I learn well because the day may come when they think they have outgrown play and God may enlist me to say it isn't so.

If you're old enough to remember these lyrics--“I'm just a kid again, doing what I did again, singing a song...”-- you may consider singing it today as you play. Have fun!

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