‘The dog is created especially for children. He is the god of frolic.’  -Henry Ward Beecher

I like this quote. It’s apt for our dog, Sparky, whose name implies who he is. He has a joyful personality, which aligns with my paradigm for life: peace and joy. My husband and I enjoy these attributes almost daily. Others commented often when we’ve entertained in our home-sweet-home they feel our peace and joy. It’s our POV.

But Sparty’s addition to our placid life was sparked by his spunky antics. He amped our joy!

My nickname, PJ, was given to me by high school friends. Though the fact is that it stands for my name: Pat Jackson, I’ve since ascribed the initials to connote Peace and Joy. If one includes my odious middle name’s initial, the truth stands out even more:

Peace, Love, and Joy

My marriage to Larry added a C to my initials. So fine. He brought Contentment.

Both of us grew up in a time when kids, on weekends and after school, were shoved out the door to play with friends. Creative and unsupervised, with few cares in the world. “Go play,” was our mother’s mandate, and so we did.

Both my husband and I were fortunate to continue our playful, creative natures into our careers and we flourished. Life was better when one felt unfettered. Life was fun.

And it still is. In our intentions. In our minds. In our lifestyle we are playful.

So, what is play?  What’s its purpose in humans’ and critter’s lives?

  • it’s nonfunctional and voluntary, that is it’s unrelated to what we do to survive
  • social play develops self-awareness, a sense of reciprocity, and an awareness of boundaries
  • frolic and general goofiness release tensions, a peace which, in turn, enhances learning
  • it fosters creativity, limited risk-taking, and a sense of freedom