Sarah’s (short) story of (re)discovering play.
Well here we are. Kia ora to you. This is where it’s at for me. I feel awe struck at the process of brain development that children everywhere are undertaking and which I am impacting with every interaction I am lucky enough to have with them. I also have a sense of being privileged to be part of creating the world’s future. Much like tending a garden with the knowledge that it can enrich our bodies, the earth and even the atmosphere, I treat the role of parenting as an honour, a gratefully received gift, and also as an important, sacred and often difficult responsibility.
While parenting over the past 11 years I’ve had opportunities to practice many skills including patience and letting go of my project management (need to control and organise) tendencies – some of these challenges I’ve actually taken up and even greatly enjoyed. Many times I’ve found myself huddled in a corner or sprawled on the floor in a state of desperation and muddled-brain-ness. “Oh, how did it come to this?” I’ve sobbed, only to be roused by the deeply heartening feel of a soft child’s hand on my arm expressing the empathic need for a hug. I’ve worked through many stages of understanding myself and my children, and even life itself. But, most importantly, my children have reminded me about play.
Through my teens I felt I had to do the best job I could at whatever I did. I held myself tight, serious and focussed, fairly nerd-like. I was on a mission. During my twenties I was also on a mission, this time it involved being successful at my work, making lots of money and being seen as sexy (and therefore not a nerd) – oh the misplaced joys of flirtatious control. Then my vision of life altered … suddenly … shockingly. “It’s not all about me!” My care for my children became my project. My joy in them became my passion.
As I journeyed through eight years of Playcentre with my three children a new world opened up for me. My desire to be a hot shot Executive Manager dissolved without yearning. Working with adults and children, about adults and children, blossomed from the Playcentre Adult Education Programme and the regular Playcentre sessions where I learned along with other adults and children. Learning and teaching about how children’s brains develop sprouted into reality through my quest to becoming a Brainwave Trust Aotearoa Kaiako/Educator. Then came the call. During my final months of Playcentre and amidst a growing question as to what I would get up to the following child-reduced year, Ako* Books had chosen my book to publish. My book! The one I’d started many years before and sent off only to forget about as baby number three arrived. The one about all the super cool things we can do with children that make a difference in the world. The one that reminds me daily about the joys and benefits of play and being with children. Yes, that one!
Thanks to my children my passion and purpose now include being focussed on children, relationships and play, and all that these create and entail.
“Changing the world is child’s play” is due out shortly, being published by Ako Books. Watch this space for some tasters before then… Ka kite ano, na Sarah x
* Ako means to reciprocate learning and teaching together, appropriate huh!