“Aslan leaped again. A mad chase began…It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind. And the funny thing was that when all three finally lay together panting in the sun the girls no longer felt in the least tired or hungry or thirsty.” –The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
This momma needs to play!
“Don’t you play all day with your children?” you might be wondering. Yes, of course! But while I love pretend tea parties with Caroline and making Margaret smile always lifts my mood, I need something more to truly thrive.
I recently listened to Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown, MD. One of his primary points is that humans require play to functionally develop and flourish, even as adults. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I have spent a lot of energy and time digesting this concept in terms of child development. It daily guides the way that I interact with my own small children. I actively seek to provide and facilitate a variety of play experiences throughout their day. Yet, I have completely neglected to apply this concept to my own schedule.
I am (overly) driven by productivity, the feeling of hard work and accomplishment. Please give me a checklist everyday! I love the feeling of marking the items off. But given the chance, I will also work myself into the ground.
Humans weren’t made for constant work, yet somehow we come to believe that intentional play should not be a constant component of our schedules. Stuart Brown writes, “The opposite of play isn’t work; it’s depression.” I think there is a lot of common grace wisdom in this point. Humans need both work and play. Consider the rhythms of life in which Yahweh instructed the Israelites. He commands them to work six days and rest on the Sabbath. He gives them feast days, essentially encouraging them to remember his goodness and celebrate. He invites them to play and relish in His love and provision. Why, as a modern American, do I think I have somehow advanced past these essential needs? I was not created with the power to work my way into control and happiness.
So what does play look like in adulthood? Stuart Brown lists and details seven “play personalities” in his book. They include the joker, the kinesthete, the explorer, the competitor, the director, the collector, the artist/creator, and the storyteller. Upon consideration, I tend to play most prominently as the artist/creator. During high school and college my artistic outlet was theater. When I started graduate school, I had to put this pursuit aside as my schedule became more demanding. I transitioned to enjoying seasons of crafting; learning to knit, crochet, and sew. With the birth of my second child, the time and space for crafting also seems to have dried up.
Hence this blog. I don’t currently have the multiple weekly hours to rehearse in a play; nor the physical space and energy for elaborate (read “messy”) crafting projects. But I can take pictures. I especially love taking pictures of my family. Our bookshelf is full of photo books, which we frequently pull out and look through. Young children, especially, grow at a heartbreaking speed. I feel the compulsive need to capture their current moment of development. Somehow, photographing my children has a way of helping me slow down and savor my time with them.
I recently found inspiration reading articles about taking pictures of one’s children on www.clickinmoms.com and stumbled across the 365 photo project. The only requirement of this self-driven project is that one takes pictures using their “real” camera everyday. It has been described as a wonderful way to refine one’s photography skills and capture precious moments in the life of one’s family. This sounds like the perfect combination to me! It sounds like my brand of play!
While it is tempting to tell myself that I have the time to post daily photos on social media, the truth is that I don’t. I also know that I will get sucked down the wormhole of aimless scrolling if I allow myself to get on these apps to post everyday. Social media has a way of soaking up the little spare time I actually have for intentional play. Therefore, I have decided to post one “Picture of the Week” on social media and multiple favorites here.
I hope you enjoy them! Wish me luck!
Beautiful images. I love the wind in your daughter’s hair & her expression in the second photo especially.
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