Teach Children to Laugh and Play

“He that plays when he is a child will play when he is a man.”  John Wesley

“Let the children laugh and be glad.

     O my dear, they haven’t long before the world assaults them. Allow them genuine laughter now. Laugh with them, till tears run down your faces—till a memory of pure delight and precious relationship is established within them, indestructible, personal, and forever.

     Soon enough they’ll meet faces unreasonably enraged. Soon enough they’ll be accused of things they did not do. Soon enough they will suffer guilt at the hands of powerful people who can’t accept their own guilt and who must dump it, therefore, on the weak. In that day the children must be strengthened by self-confidence so they can resist the criticism of fools. But self-confidence begins in the experience of childhood.

     So give your children (your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, the dear ones, children of your neighbors and your community)—give them golden days, their own pure days, in which they are so clearly and dearly beloved that they believe in love and in their own particular worth when love shall seem in short supply hereafter. Give them laughter.

     Observe each child with individual attention to learn what triggers the guileless laugh in each. Is it a story? A game? Certain family traditions? Excursions? Elaborate fantasies? Simple winks? What?

     Do that thing.

     Because the laughter that is so easy in childhood must echo its encouragement a long, long, time. A lifetime.”

                                     Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? —Walter Wangerin, Jr. (19-20)

 

 

 

 

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