A couple of days ago, I watched a TED Talk about the importance of taking the time to go outside and play. Teenagers these days are so caught up in getting the good grades, going to their dream school in hopes of getting their dream job that they forget to just…live. But, this is old news. We all know this. But changing it is something we are not able to do. So the question stands: is it because we do not want to, or is it because we are restricted of the option to do so? Peter Gray speaks about how during his young adulthood years, the school system was not as structured and competitive like it is now. Unlike millennials today, Gray had the ability to spend time riding his bike and exploring rather than sitting in a class or studying all day. It seemed to have proven effective due to the fact that nowadays, mental disorders and suicide rates have increased more than ever before.
As a child, those hour long lunch and recess breaks were the highlights of my day. I never sat in a class for more than two hours, and when I got home, there was little to no homework to attend to. This eventually allowed me to spend time with my family, get on my bike, and explore the outside world. The best part was that I was able to discover or experience something new each day. Thinking about that now makes me truly nostalgic due to the fact that I will never be able to get that back. Had I known just how much freedom I was actually receiving, I would have appreciated that period of time in my life much more.
Being my 16 year old self now, I have begun to believe that my life is getting repetitive, somewhat of robot-like. I wake up and do the same things every single day of my life (weekends are obviously exceptions). But, I feel as though even weekends are simply not enough. I do know that I have the “option” to change that… but the cold hard truth is that society has built a one-way, structured path to success. One of which that does not include “playing” or spending time outside. No, that would be considered a waste of time. Time that could be spent on figuring out what X stands for or time that could be spent on memorizing the exact day Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. How has our world come to this?
Recently, I was introduced to Global School Play Day by one of my unique teachers. The reason that I characterize him as being unique is because he is one of the few people in this world that has realized how screwed up our school system actually is. Instead, he focuses on teaching his students to open the door to creativity. Of course, I would not have believed that at first. In the beginning, I could not find it in myself to conform to the way he taught. Being in his class for about 6 months now, I’ve realized that his class is now my outlet to individuality and creativity.
I was thrilled to find out that I would get one hour to just sort of be like a kid again. During this time, I stepped out of my comfort zone and played Hedbanz with classmates that I do not normally speak to. Even my teacher played with our group. I looked around and saw students playing catch and others playing the guitar. In that moment, I took the time to appreciate the “play” environment… something I was not able to do back then. A sense of happiness and relief washed over me me as I continued on to play.
By experiencing Global School Play Day, I am now able to see how important playing and exploring things outside of a classroom is. Doing the same old stuff each day really does begin to bore and unmotivate me. Had it not been for my teacher exposing me to this, I would not have seen what really matters in life. I now know that the actual answer to X in the problem of life is play. It’s not going to be easy to make the change, but understanding the concept is a step towards something better and more humane.