Surprise: we have to change the definitions of recess & play

Were you one of those who loved the blog last week but struggled with how to turn recess into a reality? Or did you grab the recess concept by the gonads and give it a try? Many of you loved the idea of recess but it threw you into a tizzy.  You let me know that you wanted a recess time desperately.  You gave me excuses for why you couldn't take a recess.  Some of you sent me photos of your recess time activities.  At least one of you hit the dollar store to purchase some aids to recess and led a recess break for your co-workers. I hadn't expected the post to hit the nerve it did.  However, I had fun with it and it convinced me that it was time we started to take intentional recess time during our work days.

Merriam-Webster defines recess as "a short period of time during the school day when children can play" there is no mention of grown-ups or work. Did you realize that somewhere along the line you crossed an imaginary chronological divide that excluded you from recess?  It's time we altered that definition and our reality.  Too many grown-ups careen through their days without taking a proper break for lunch let alone recess.  We have lost sight of the pleasure and the richness that playing can bring into our days. We have forgotten how to play.

I went back to the dictionary to learn about play.  It was defined by Merriam-Webster as the "recreational activity especially the  spontaneous activity of children".  At what point did our culture decide that spontaneous recreational activity was the sole domain of children?  Even Kanti knows how to bust forth in circles in the middle of a walk just from sheer joy and excitement.  That's pretty spontaneous and recreational! It only takes her about thirty seconds to spin five to ten circles which leave her in a tongue hanging out, wasn't that fun kind of state. When I see her do it I am envious and I wonder when and why do adults bury their ability to play.

After my little sojourn into the dictionary, I was mildly depressed.  Somewhere along our life journey the world had determined that recess and play were for children.  Silently we had all slipped into the work harness and accepted that recess and play were not ours to enjoy.  I wanted to change those definitions, I wanted to recapture the art of recess and the joy of play.  I wanted to have fun.  How about you?  It seemed like a big job to set out to redefine recess and play to include grown-ups.  I believe we can do it and I am convinced that there will be emotional, physical, and spiritual benefits to doing so.  You can help.  Whenever you take a recess, post a picture on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and use the hashtag #recesstime along with at least one word that describes how you felt about your recess and tag me so I can begin to gather the info.

Don't get discouraged if you miss recess sometimes. Remember you are shifting a whole cultural perspective, a lifetime of conditioning, and contributing to the changing of Merriam-Webster's definitions.  Take a page out of JMH's two year-old life if you get discouraged.  He had been cooped up in a restaurant for brunch and reached his limit after an hour or so.  All he wanted to do was run around the block in the sunshine.  And that's what he did, with dad on one side and great-grandma on the other.  His little legs just a going in a spontaneous run around the block.  Think simply and act spontaneously.  We can change those definitions together and we'll have fun doing it.