Sunday, August 10, 2008

Playing outside

....After hearing a recent radio program completely devoted to the topic of play, I asked my kids to write for me some thoughts about memorable moments of play in their lives. I soon received a really wonderful email from my oldest son, Jonathan, who is now 22. You will see from what he wrote how vital the time playing outside in nature was to him.... I am quite sure that what he describes is a big part of why he is now such a creative, imaginative, smart, amazing young man. (Yes, I am bragging. Forgive me.)

Jonathan wrote,

“I think my favorite memories of playing as a kid, or at least the thing that was most constant about playing as a kid, was the woods behind our house in Massachusetts. Not so much just as woods per se, but in that they became a landscape for me where I told stories and had adventures, sometimes in the actual places, to scale, but more often taking the relatively small woods and expanding them in size into a world as a whole, with countries and histories and wars that I would tell (To myself, never to anyone else, and almost never written down, so I don't remember most of it). Rivers were oceans, rises in the land mountain ranges, the strip of un-forested land underneath the power lines a vast savanna, and the little rocky outcroppings in the middle of the Green River, great island nations. These places got named and re-named over and over again, I think mostly based on whatever I was reading at the time (If it was the Redwall books it was one thing, if it was Lord of the Rings it was something else, if it was Star Wars it was something else)...but I do remember that there were a few very involved story lines that went on for a long time, years, in fact, and that I'd go back to over and over again. Bits and pieces of these stories I used to tell to myself while I walked around in the woods ended up in stories that I wrote down, but most of it's just gone now...and I can't really remember specifics.
And then, of course, there was much more concrete playing out in the woods...climbing trees, swimming in the river...I especially used to love building dams across the river, again, sometimes with other people, a lot of times just by myself. I think I just loved the woods so much because no one was ever out there (If I ran into someone out there I'd usually hide until they went away), and so there was free rein for me to make them, and myself, whatever I wanted. They were my woods, and my imagination was liberated to fill them with adventures of the epic scale that I loved reading about...."

(Note: This is part of a post written for the ChildLight USA Weblog: Expounding on the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. To read the entire post, go here.)


Albert said...

The word radio rarely fails to capture my attention. To what program were you listening?

tonia said...

so cool that you are writing for ChildLight!

and i love the encouragement here to keep doing the quiet, simple things. i'm glad to know it pays off.