When my son Tom was three, he wanted a toy gun more than anything. He asked us, it seemed, almost everyday for one, but we did not want to encourage “violent” behaviour so did not give in to his pleading. We bought him a plastic yard set; rake, shovel and hoe instead. I looked out the window one day, and saw him with the plastic rake, held shoulder-high, being “aimed” at his friend. They were “playing guns” with the rake and shovel. We finally broke down and bought him a toy gun and he loved it.
I never played with guns as a child and never had any interest in them. I made some attempts at introducing toys, into my sons lives, that were not traditionally played with by boys. I once bought them a doll house (something that I had always wanted as a little girl). Matt dismembered some all the dolls, beheaded others, and made it into a little haunted house…not exactly what I had in mind.
My friend (and neighbor) Margaret, celebrated her 50th birthday on Saturday with food, a bon fire, and Laser Tag. I hadn’t played anything like this before, but thought I’d try one game, just to experience it. Teams were chosen and we all got a gun and started playing at around 5:30. At 8:00, it was getting too dark to play. I had on a lightweight T-shirt and shorts and didn’t notice that it was getting chilly, didn’t feel particularly hungry. I felt like I was ten years old again….it was odd and wonderful.
I like the thought that there is something in this wild, unknowable universe called “The Spirit of Play” and that it shows up to rejuvenate and refresh our spirits, minds and bodies, wherever beings (human and animal) gather for the purpose of fun, non-harm, and celebration. I think that I would like to become more familiar with this fun little spirit in the second half of life!