child’s play

act i.
In worship recently, we referred to Ulysses S. Grant’s affirmation:
“There never was a time when, in my opinion,
some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword.”
And we then inferred that the drawing of the sword thus always represented
a colossal failure of the human imagination—of human creativity.
And so the stage was set

act ii.
to reflect on the play of our girls.
When they’re into deep imaginative play,
their voices are a soft, respectful, almost hushed murmur.
They’re pretty much oblivious to anything else going on,
and we tiptoe around not wanting to interrupt—
as we observe in wonder.
They accept each other’s every suggestion.
Challenges are simply absorbed
and taken to another level of incorporation
in their working together.
And the play unfolds smoothly, seamlessly.

act iii.
It’s as they come out of the depths of creativity,
that they begin to reject each other’s suggestions,
that they counter suggestions with counter suggestions,
that the arguments begin,
that they’re more interested in their way than in the play,
that they start getting louder,
that the play ends.

act iv.
What if it didn’t—
the play—
What if we cultivated deep imaginative play
beyond childhood?
What if we valued such play into adulthood
sought it—expected it—honored it in leadership and positions of power?
What if such play characterized classrooms
and political debate?
What if corporate and foreign policy consisted of hushed exchanges—
respectful explorations of creativity?

act v.
It’s a priority to choose—a commitment to make
for deep imaginative play, it’s not just child’s play.
It is, I believe, the hope of humankind.


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