January 2023 | The True Vine and The Soon Coming King

All Study and no Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy
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All Study and no Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

Pr. Emmanuel P. G.

There is nobody who will not joyfully remember the good old childhood days of playing different games with friends in the neighborhoods, and the valuable lessons learned that makes one competent to meet the various challenges of life. The physical fitness, the socialization, the friendships, and the joy those games contributed are unparalleled. Also, we have around us numerous examples of people who were raised ‘inside’ who fail tragically in real life, like parrots grown in cages when let out into the open world. 

The question here before us is to look at playing games from the Biblical point of view, which some narrow minds may blindly oppose, misquoting  Psalm 1, and quoting  out of context Jeremiah 15:17 which says “I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them”. 

From the Christian perspective play and fun keep the body and mind healthy and good out of reverence for God.

God’s Healthy and Happy Youngsters

Bible wholeheartedly approves and advocates sound and healthy growth of the body, mind and the soul. Luke 2. 40, 52 depict how young Jesus grew strong and sound in body mind and soul. In I Timothy 4: 8 Apostles Paul underlines the importance of physical exercise for the life in this world. Athletes, race, competitions, prize/crown are all some of the imageries used by the Apostles in their spiritual exhortations to believers. 

Apostle John writes to Gaius, ''dear friend I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well'' (2 John: 2).

 Psalms portray the general outlook of the Old Testament concerning physical fitness. The youngsters are depicted as young olive trees, like  trees planted by the waters, like the cedars of Lebanon, like a palm tree; like arrows in the hands of a warrior (Psalm 1:2; Psalm 92:12, 13; Psalm 128:3; Psalm 127:3, 4).  The usage like shooting saplings in Psalm 144: 12 used for our sons very specifically emphasizes how strong, healthy and trimmed our young sons should be. The usage like carved pillars refering to girls depicts how beautiful, trimmed and healthy our daughters need to be.

Good Games are Right and pleases God

The Bible positively approves everything that is good for life, and has not been critical of any healthy entertainments. God delights when men are happy. After the creation of all things with all the built in instincts and joys, God approves all rightful enjoyments saying “it is very good”. So, there is a total and positive approval by the Bible for healthy participation and learning through play and games. Our body is the Temple of God. Keeping it healthy, and tidy is part of our devotion to God. Whoever destroys the temple, God will destroy them.

Games Improve Psycho-motor Functions and Relations

It is interesting to note that this instinct to play is put into every being by God Himself so that they will develop their psychomotor functions and learn life skills. It is interesting to observe how a cat or a cub learn skills through playing. Animals train their little ones in skills for their future life through play. They learn more lessons as they play with their peers. 

Children play anywhere, anytime

We know, children learn innumerable and invaluable lessons and life skills through play. Anyplace, anytime, any stuff is OK for them. They play, interact, make friends and learn naturally and a child who doesn’t play is cause for concern.But they need to learn to discerningly use their time, places, and occasions. 

The Joy of playing outside

Playing outside refreshes like a breath of fresh air. Playing in the streets and on roads is a common sight in cities. This cannot be discouraged as it is the right of the children to play. It depends on where you are put up and how the environment is. 

It is a time of relaxation from the pressure of the world upon us. Today’s’ children come home with their load of assignments and under the pressure their childhood, dreams and joys of playing outside are crushed and gone forever. And nowadays majority of people are mesmerized by the unreal world of electronics and computers. The lack of good play grounds and the lack of togetherness terribly cripple today’s society. Selfishness, hypertension, obesity, ill health, and depression are the free offers of such a kind of life style. It is easier to prepare a child than to repair an adult.

For health problems in the city culture games are the only alternative that would equally entertain the body and mind, socialize people and train people in life skills.

This is a real shame because it almost seems as though today’s children are losing touch with the simple delights of being out in the fresh air. Encouraging your children to play in your garden, or taking them to a local park, is the perfect way to stimulate their imaginations and get them exercising at the same time.

It is the responsibility of the parents and the society to provide the entire family with sufficient space opportunities and atmosphere to play and grow. Also parents need to extend a general supervision on it for the right use of the privilege.

Games delights the Individual and the Society

As they play they get socialized too. They learn to obey rules, frame rules, consider others, think, and prepare for competence. There are indoor and outdoor games which educate and make fit the mind and body alike. It refreshes the mind and the body, educates, entertains and delights the person and the society. Play makes life bright and builds up relationships. It adds color and vigor to life in the society.

The Greeks idealized physical fitness and mental discipline, and that is why they patronized sports and games. The Olympics, world cups are examples to understand how they delights, and adds color to the society.

Good schools have a good blend of sports/games and academics. To a certain extend this compensates what children miss at home in the city culture. Playing games educates, motivates and refreshes both mind and body. Since learning through games is most interesting creative teachers adopt it as a medium of effective teaching too.

So it is important to provide young children with sufficient opportunities be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy by being active and interactive through games. It helps them to get to know the world, people, learn responses, acquire problem solving skills, organizational skills etc in a better way. Plays are the means by which young children learn to realistically perceive and think. It is through games and other plays they discover their talents and abilities that would boost their self-esteem. It is also how they learn to socialize and communicate as children engage in learning experiences with other children and adults.

As a Christian all what we do and engage in must bring glory to God, and help humanity to fare well. "Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God''. (2 Cor. 7:1).

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