Posted by: Judy | May 8, 2019


I saw an article (reading only the headline and the first sentence) that talked about how medication is the new wave for treating mental illness. For some people, medication is a miracle. They have a chemical imbalance in their brain.

This is not true of every person struggling with a mental illness. My sister and I have been discussing an aspect no one wants to consider:

Children don’t know how to play. Children who don’t know how to play grow up into adults who don’t know how to play. They substitute play with unhealthy habits.

Play isn’t frivolous. Play is serious work.

I admit: I don’t really know how to play. The closest I’ve come was playing with my dog or dressing up for the Renaissance Festival. I watch movies, occasionally (on DVD, as the theatre isn’t much fun when all those people up my anxiety level). I enjoy going out to eat with friends, but I’m not sure that’s really play either.

Relaxing and play are not mutually exclusive but neither are they interchangeable.

Most of my play as a child was pretend, pretending I was a horse, running around outside. Games weren’t much fun because I was a bad sport about losing, especially since I had trouble figuring out rules and was terribly clumsy. I played pretend with my model horses, too. My friends and I usually played outside. An empty lot had dirt piles, and it was a great, hilly race course. I’d forgotten how much physical activity I did.

As the years went by, that changed. I watched more and more television and worked on puzzles while I listened to the radio. By the time I hit middle school play had ceased to exist. My mother worked, and I had to come straight home. My best friends turned their backs on me, and I tried to cultivate new friends. It was work, and I was lousy at it.

Being alone became my easy button. Darn. Ridiculously, I believed that if things were easy, I was somehow doing it right. If it was hard, then I was doing it wrong. Stupid. Fortunately, now I know.

I’m not sure I can figure out how to play now. I think I need to study up on play for a while and see what I learn.


  1. I’ll bring the crayons and coloring book. 🙂

    • LOL!

  2. I still play with my Grandson…on my knees on the floor giving a cockney voice to a little plastic figure and having all sorts of adventures under the dining room table. It is like being a kid again myself apart from the fact that my knees are not kids knees anymore!

    • I love this! 🙂

  3. It’s funny, but it’s actually my cat who helps me stay in tune with my inner child. We play tag, hide-and-seek, and lots of other games.

    • How fun! I miss that with my dog.

      • Have you ever thought about getting another?

        • Oh, yes, but my dad says no.

          • That’s too bad. But maybe God will send a dog to follow your dad home, like He did for mine. Then he won’t be able to refuse! lol

            • LOL! I love that idea. 🙂

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