“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning.  But for children play is serious learning.  Play is really the work of childhood.”

— Fred Rogers

Beginning tomorrow, I have some serious work to do.  For the next two weeks, I will be spending my daytime hours with my granddaughters, Cheyenne and Harper.  It’s been a while since I’ve lived in the world of two-and-three-year-old activity; and I’m sure we’ll all learn some things about each other during our adventures together.  I will leave my life of predictable adult routines, quiet reading, and leisurely lunch preparation and return to the once-familiar land of ever-changing activity and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  My quiet background music will be lively Disney songs, and I will relearn the pleasure of reading a favorite book three times in a row and delighting in its story each time as though it were brand new.

Can you begin to imagine the sort of results we could produce if we still worked with the enthusiasm and energy we once brought to the serious work of play?  I think of the book I am reading now and consider the childhood lesson of reading it three times in a row and seeing it as something new each time.  I wonder what sort of depth the information would take on if I gave it that amount of attention?  I think of the music that plays while I do my daily chores and wonder how much more delightful it would be if I let myself burst into song and dance joyfully to a favorite tune.*

When I made a preliminary visit last week to learn the girls’ routine, we all sat at the breakfast table and ate together.  Suddenly, Cheyenne turned her face to mine and asked,

“What color is you’s eyes?”

“Blue,” I answered.

“I got blue eyes, too!” she remarked.

“What color is your hair?” she wanted to know.

“What color is yours?” I asked, turning the question back to her.

“Mine is blon’,” she said.

“So is mine,” I answered.

She leaned her head next to mine so that our hair touched.  “We’s the same,” she proclaimed.

I wonder how my life would change if I could return to that place in childhood that looks for the ways we are alike rather than focusing on our differences.

I have a feeling that I will learn many things on my journey back to the land of play.  I’m thinking I should choose wisely whatever I bring to the adventure, because we will probably do it three times in a row and let it become part of the serious work of playing.  Who knows what the outcome might be?