Did I really say, "Looks like we need to build a gun factory"?!

Recently I listened to a psychologist on the power of play and even though this has been a topic I have delved into a fair bit - experientially and educationally - I learned a tonne ...

Couple key points and suggestions that I pulled from the talk and that I decided afterwards to roll with ...

1. Point #1: It is OK to not enjoy the same games/things that my children like - I realized when he said this that at some level I could admit that had been berating myself as (indeed) sometimes the games would bore me or disinterest me or flat out displease me.  It would drain me - well if I'm honest not "it" but certainly my perspective and internal thoughts about it all  - I "should" be enjoying this game - ahh, the energy sucking "should" - yes this is where I was losing serious mojo. I was not present with them - I was mainly thinking about how I could get back to my work/book or at least switch the game to something that in my mind we would all enjoy more - but they are so into it ....

Sigh, so I have been playing around with his insights - it doesn't bother me anymore that I'm not loving the game, I get curious about the whole thing - when I'm getting bored  I notice that and might hear myself trying to internally help myself out, "Hmmm, what might be wonderful about this" or "What about this has really got my son jazzed?" - I make my own game of trying to imagine (for a short time!) what it really is like to be in his world … and try to bring a beginner's mind to it all ...

Add-on: As I finish this article that I thought I had completed in the Fall but was actually lingering in blog limbo I want to add something to this topic of play I heard on a talk show in December that I resonated with big time. Basically the MD also talked about play and what I enjoyed about her perspective was that she took it all a step back further to have me ask myself, "What do my kids and I do together where we lose track of time?" Inside me I felt a light bulb go on realizing that this is a better question for me and my family than "what can we do to have more fun together?" . Right away I realized it wasn't board games it was swimming, being outside, bowling, having friends over, playing group poetry-word games (super fun and hilarious what emerges in these times!)  --- this is play - being in the moment (yet out of time) with each other .

YES - lovely - it gave me easy access to how to bring more play into my life.

Yes I still play the odd card game and traditional "fun" games and dive into it as I described above but what I really love having in my life is PLAY and her questions got me to realize that I already have so much of it and that once again it's as simple as being together out of time consciousness … cool - I wish I had made a note of her name to share it with you --- brilliant lady. Enjoy the next bit …

2. Point #2: Gun play isn't a big deal.

Gun play - "no guns in the house" seemed like a no brainer house rule to me when we started our family. And then I had a boy who had friends who effortlessly turned sacred feathers into swords and sticks into guns. "OK, (mama regroup moment) you can play but only if you don't point them at someone and you are working together ..." ...hmmm....

This teacher talked about how play is play and it is not real life and how really they know that. How what we call violence isn't necessarily violent in play - how we can bring the grown up world somewhere it doesn't belong. He acknowledged how yes sometimes gun play and aggression can get repetitive and stuck for a child  AND the ONLY way to transform such play is to enter into it. He gave the example of coming into the play of a child fixated on guns and on the act of shooting and joining her/him where he/she is first (excuse the politically correctness!) and THEN perhaps guide the play towards some expansion from the gun-shooting-fixation by bringing in other aspects of play such as a building aspect. For example, building a hospital for the casualties or ahem building a gun factory.

Fast forward two days and my boy is playing with a massive bag of action figures he got from grandma - the action figures weren't baking muffins let's just say - battling was the main activity. So, I sit down with him and the characters and observe where he's going with things and try to find a way into his play thru picking up a couple of characters and interacting - using accents and what not (I was having fun actually). Well, we're playing for less than 5 minutes when I hear come out of my voice in a Southern drawl accent, "Well partners (pause) it seems to me that we are flat outta guns. Yep. Looks like we need to build ourselves a gun factory." Everything went very slow mo after that - in my mind at least  - as my son and daughter look at me in absolute ABSOLUTE disbelief and come to a complete stop in activity -- there was complete silence and I felt a little awkward … and then we all broke out into hysterics! 

"Gun factory mom?!"  they both chimed in at once.

" You sure were trying hard to play with me and my action figures just then ... I guess ... hey mom? ...thanks but ….trying too hard!.." and then more slow disbelief head shaking and mumbling, "gun factory …  really mama … gun factory"

We laughed for weeks about this…(-: