Play as work

I don’t really know if it’s the same today, but when I was a kid our play really was practice for our adult lives.  Because we moved in fluid packs of anything from 3 to 20 kids – depending on the season, activity and who was fighting with, or allied to, whom – we had all the ingredients of functional adult society. 

There were rules, infringements, negotiations, tactics, and intense brain-storming that took place at every stage.  There were joys of conquest, anticipation of outcomes and dark mutterings of mutiny – hell, everything you’ll ever encounter in a boardroom, a barracks or on a shopfloor! 

We had the flirts, the foot-soldiers, the despots and the idea-men – and everyone seemed to be an engineer! 

We experienced heartbreak when someone left because their parents (generally those still came in twos and they inhabited another world – one that held very little interest for us) had been transferred to another town, or because Frasier thought Allison was prettier than me; or when a beloved pet died. 

We experienced the exquisite terror of having to deliver THAT letter from school, the one that said you hadn’t done your homework, or passed a test – the one that meant you were going to have to WAIT FOR YOUR FATHER!  I have been through some awful things as an adult, but very little that could equal the adrenaline-fueled, heart-hammering fear as I waited through what felt more like eternity than just an afternoon…

(Reposted from Letterdash)

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