A popular children’s television host once said, “Play is seen as a respite from serious learning, but for children, play is serious learning.” Indeed, children learn many vital skills when they are playing, such as how to interact with others. As we grow older, though, play often gets pushed behind work, and we forget how to have fun, let alone have fun in the first place. Yet I believe that as adults, we can still learn things through play – how to form strategies, how to think logically, how to win (and lose) graciously. Games not only provide a way to have fun; they also allow us to exercise our mental muscles.
Play is a characteristic of not just humans, but mammals in general. Play is essential for our mental health. So why do we feel that it is necessary either to suppress it or to turn play into something that’s not much fun at all? The psychology of such questions is beyond me, but I do know this: There is truth in the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
I can imagine the creation as a perfect balance between work and play. Yes, God rested after the six days of creation, so it had to have been work on some level, but all you have to do is look around the natural world to see what fun God must have had during the creation. As the saying goes, if you think God doesn’t have a sense of humor, look at the platypus. And after the creation, the Bible reminds us that God saw that it was very good. May we ever be mindful to strive for a good balance between work and play, so that at the end of the day, we can say that the day was very good, too.