What If We Let Adults Play?
By Ali Berlinski on June 13, 2013
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Do you remember when you stopped believing in Santa Clause? I think mine was more of a gradual realization. However, I do remember being 8, turning over my faux porcelain tea set, and seeing the sticker “Made in China” on the back. Unless, Santa was outsourcing his elves, my classmates were right; there is no such thing as Santa
This is one of the most pivotal moments in a child’s life. It marks a child’s first steps into adulthood, a place where magic doesn’t exist. For one of the things we’re inadvertently taught as children is that being an adult means giving up magic. Rather than pretend or dream, we are slowly trained to focus on what’s tangible. In order to avoid social ridicule, overtime most of us stop believing, stop playing, and eventually our imaginations become limited.
Now it’s somewhat cool or ironic to be into magic or nerdy things. All the same, adults aren’t free to play.
As a teacher I’m lucky; I actually get paid to play with children. Thanks to recent studies, more people recognize play as an important part of learning. What’s more, this isn’t just true for children but adults as well. Nevertheless, children seem to get less and less playtime at school, and as for adults we generally get none. Although I agree, creative people will naturally be drawn to creative professions; I don’t believe that artists are the only ones who need to be imaginative.
No matter how baddass you are, if a child hands you a plastic phone, you answer it. –Bill Murray
Imagination is how innovative ideas like those featured on TED come about. If not for imagination we wouldn’t have things like airplanes, light bulbs, or iPods. At one point, these ideas were considered outrageous.
So here’s my crazy idea: What if every profession encouraged adult playtime?
Here’s my list of things I used to believe in:
- My closet is a portal to another world, which explains where all my left socks and hair ties end up.
- Islands were the backs of giant sea turtles, and that’s why we can’t find Atlantis; it keeps moving.
- Flying cars would exist by 2013 (thanks a lot Highlights magazine)
- M.A.S.H could predict my future. I’m still waiting to marry Billy and move into our Mansion.
- Ouiji boards worked, “I’m serious, I’m not moving it!”
- Mood Rings. Why was I always bluish-black?
- Kisses cured boo-boos or at least took away the pain, could you imagine how that would revolutionize childbirth?
- Fairy godmothers.
- Clouds were just huge bounce houses high up in the sky.
- Chicken nuggets are made of chicken.
Although I’m fairly certain I won’t believe in M.A.S.H. or fairy godmothers ever again, perhaps there’s still a chance that one day I’ll drive a flying car.