Fun Requires no Teacher

Our daughter moved out this weekend, which was a "mixed blessing" experience, to say the least. She is close, thank goodness, so we'll still get to see plenty of her. But her absence from our daily lives has created a few voids that I didn't anticipate, like random hugs and "I love you"s that now require a visit or a phone call instead of a 20-step walk.

Of course, it also created a bit of a space void. With an "extra" room in the house, we rearranged a bit and made the master bedroom into a play room. While we're getting things settled, we have a very cushy futon mattress in there that is just perfect for wrestling and bouncing on. That, in and of itself, is fun with a capital "F". But when you add bean bags, pillows, couch cushions, blankets, and every other soft or semi-soft thing in the house, things really take off.

Last night, the boys decided to put the mattress against the wall and spread out all of the soft things on the floor directly in front of it. We then took turns - many, many, MANY turns - running into the mattress at full speed, then bouncing off to a relatively soft landing. We started off relatively slow, and got progressively faster and louder, squealing with each bounce onto the floor. We laughed until we cried, sweated up a storm, and eventually all took a break for milk and juice before starting up all over again. As I watched them, I was struck by the innate pursuit of pleasure they have; we did not have to label this as "play" or "fun" in order to have it be enjoyable, it just simply was. Their desire for fun was unalterable, uncontrollable, and unfettered. It was brilliant.

That got me thinking about spirit. Running into a wall and bouncing off was fun for them, but the fact that no one was trying to "teach" them how to best have fun was probably the best part. With no interference, they could simply enjoy - no expectations, no right and wrong, no outcome in mind, no learning that needed to occur. They needed a facilitator, someone to help them gather the materials and re-set the course from time to time; they needed a partner, someone to share the fun and laugh with; and they needed a friend, someone who they love and respect to watch them and be with them and celebrate the fun with them. What they did not need was a teacher.

Fun sometimes requires a facilitator, a partner, or a friend. But it rarely requires a teacher. It's good to focus on the former and avoid the latter.

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