Don't Forget to be Silly - March 22 2021

Play helps us rehearse the unexpected and stay flexible in our thinking. It also nurtures creativity and helps us practice learning new things.

Posted
March 22, 2021
Figure standing on side of mountain with arms outstreatched

Don't Forget to be Silly - March 22 2021

Play helps us rehearse the unexpected and stay flexible in our thinking. It also nurtures creativity and helps us practice learning new things.

Posted
March 22, 2021

"The word 'silly' derives from the Greek 'selig' meaning 'blessed.' There is something sacred in being able to be silly." ~Paul Pearshall

JFS Friends – 

Watching young children at play is joyous. They run around playing with such freedom, embracing silliness and laughing at themselves while their imagination takes them on one adventure after another.

I am not sure at what age things change, but as we get older we seem to become more self-conscious and begin to worry about what others will think, we begin to fear looking silly and don’t want others to see us doing things that we have not already mastered. Sometimes I think that the invention of digital cameras added to this. We no longer have to worry about the cost of film and developing pictures so we can take hundreds of photos and only pick the most perfect. We also now have the ability to edit and photoshop our photos so we rarely have to see or share a photo that is truly candid.

George Bernard Shaw says:

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing.”

While play can look frivolous from the outside looking in – it actually serves several very serious and important functions. Play helps us rehearse the unexpected and stay flexible in our thinking. It also nurtures creativity and helps us practice learning new things.

Stuart Brown, MD, the founder of the National Institute for Play, where he speaks, consults and educates organizations, corporations, universities, and public policy makers about the importance of play in our lives and the unexpected, serious consequences that occur when play is neglected, says:

“Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.”

Learning something new - whether it is a new skill at work, or a new hobby – like playing golf, or learning a new language – involves being willing to experience times when we will make mistakes and feel clumsy or foolish before we move forward to mastering a new skill. The more comfortable we are with these feelings and experiences, the more easily and willingly we can grow and learn and the more open we are to trying new things.

Stuart Brown, MD puts it this way:

“Play is like fertilizer for brain growth. It’s crazy not to use it.”

As the work week begins it may be a good time to think about the ways we can bring a sense of play and joy into the work environment. Are we creating an environment where we can be vulnerable enough to learn and where we can approach the stumbles and missteps that come with learning something new with a sense of humor and kindness.

Catherine Ripperger Fenwick, author of Healing With Humor says:

“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.”

I hope that the week ahead includes time for play, laughter and joy.

Take care,
Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

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