Children at Play

1. The parent does not understand how the child conquers his boredom. The parent does not understand what the child develops through play. What occurs when the child appears to scribble idly? How does his climbing on the swing set in the park do him any benefit? What does he learn from conducting a battle between plastic enemy soldiers on the living room floor?

2. The play of the child seems undirected by reason, disorderly and even wasteful to the adult observer. The parent is convinced it best to as early as possible send him to a school and engage him in programs. There a curriculum can be administered to the child. The child can take part in organized activities to learn teamwork and a proper response to authority. Implicit is the assumption that that which can be tested and quantified, a method of learning that is explained by trained education professionals, will improve the child and more quickly prepare him for economic life. Because it is assumed too that the child can learn little on his own outside such programs, or that what he may learn is inferior and will result in bad habits.

7. The child develops through play the self-sustaining creativity to conquer his boredom. The development of this ability is man’s most important: that he has the confidence in his creativity to overcome that which might destroy him.

19. Man has rejected boredom. Man fears his boredom and looks to suppress it through distractions, the purchasing of pleasures and entertainments. Yet he also dislikes the work that would keep him from boredom. He looks to disengage himself from both the boredom that emerges from his idleness as well as the expenditure of energy that comes from work. He wishes to be idle but not bored. In the absence of the self-sustaining creativity developed in childhood, he turns to drug use, overeating, shopping, video games, etc. as responses to the problem. Indeed, autistic man might very well be an evolutionary response to the problem.

24. Verily, it is by man’s creative response to his boredom that civilization is often advanced. Civilization does not advance upon men trained to submit to authority, team-players, and those who would avoid boredom at any cost through drugs or programmed distractions. Man’s experience of boredom is his challenge to greatness.

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