We learned that we play to learn. When we think about play, we often think first of something fun; “just for fun.” But play is serious work, “the work of children” according to Maria Montessori, educator. “According to Montessori, the essential dimensions of play are:
- Voluntary, enjoyable, purposeful and spontaneous
- Creativity expanded using problem-solving skills, social skills, language skills and physical skills
- Helps expand on new ideas
- Helps the child to adapt socially
- Helps to thwart emotional problems”
With all this in mind, one of the ways our faith guides us in leaning into being a people of PLAY is that it reminds us how play supports understanding and creativity.
Colors of PRIDE Mindfulness
Consider these words by Roger Bourland~
“Let us arrive as children to this huge playground – the universe.”
Weekly Chalice Lighting:
We light our chalice flame
For those who lived their lives in closets of shame;
For those who furtively visited the bars, where nobody knew your name;
For the Stonewall riot—and the fierce transwomen who fought;
For the plague, which still takes far too many, too young, too soon.
So many gone. So many never lived to see
Out gay kids singing on TV
Out gay people serving in the military
Families formed by intention
We light our chalice flame for all these,
and for all our siblings of the rainbow,
living life out,
in the open,
~By Lori Gorgas Hlaban
Discuss: What is the secret ingredient to you having fun while you are playing with someone else?
Listen to: Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
Read: If You Look Up to the Sky by Angela Dalton
Family Mantra for the Month: “Let’s try a play break.”
This month’s message is all about giving ourselves a break. As a people of the world, we will be carrying the stress of the previous pandemic year for a long time. One of the best ways to process the extra energy (angst, tension, fret) of chronic stress is through play.
You would not want to hear this month’s mantra when you are sharing something deeply troubling or sensitive. But oftentimes, when we are in “gripe mode,” or just seem to be at odds with our circumstances or those around us in small ways that are hard to name, a play break can be really, helpful, not to mention fun!
Here are a few examples:
- On a chore day, in the middle of folding laundry, make a game out of matching socks, or after mopping a floor, everybody put rags beneath their feet and race around drying the floor
- Waiting for something, such as the DMV, or to pick up someone from the airport, have a deck of Uno cards handy for a quick game
- In a grumpy, gripey disagreement over a family choice (such as where to go out to eat or who does what chore or what movie to watch), suggest you solve the debate using a coin toss; rock, paper, scissors; or picking a number 1-10
- To let other family members sleep when an energetic young person is awake early, suggest a quiet game of shadow puppets or charades
- And when you are on a long trip and everyone is starting to get cranky at the end, play one of those classic car games, like I Spy or Find the 50 States of License Plates
As a family, you might use this month’s mantra as a reminder to set up the conditions for play when (or before) moods turn sour. Play is an effective way to interrupt unwanted patterns of thought or behavior and creates a new pattern of meeting challenges with levity and creativity.
Blessing of PLAY
May the month ahead brim with merriment, with joy, with revelry and experiment and glorious, irrelevant efforts for no particular purpose but play. May we be each other’s conspirators in gigglement and glee, in dashing, in daring, in delight. May we remember that children and crows and otters and kittens are wise in ways that we would do well to emulate, that is, in their instinctive impulse toward game and contest and exploration. This month may your body play. May your mind play. May your spirit play. And with the Divine, the Source of all ebullience everywhere, may you dance playfully to the music of your own light heart.
-Teresa Honey Youngblood
We hang PRIDE flags of rainbow colors during June, which is PRIDE month. Celebrate PRIDE with a Rainbow Meditation. If your children are younger, consider having them draw the color of the rainbow during each pause.
Centering: Let’s now get into our meditation positions.
- Sit comfortably in your chair or on the floor.
- Put your hands on your lap or on your knees.
- Sit up nice and tall.
- Focus your eyes in front of you.
- Find your breath moving in your body by taking in one breath through your nose and then slowly breathing it out through your mouth.
Mindful Moment: Colors of PRIDE Mindfulness
Imagine yourself a cloud in the sky. Floating, relaxed. [PAUSE]
Imagine a rainbow of light shines through and around you as a cloud, with all of the colors arching from you to the ground below. [PAUSE]
Look down the rainbow at each color. [PAUSE]
Imagine the red of the rainbow, shining, glowing, the red of heart, red of love, red of stop signs. [PAUSE]
Imagine the orange of the rainbow, shining, glowing, the orange of creativity, orange of dawn, orange of mangoes. [PAUSE]
Imagine the yellow of the rainbow, shining, glowing, the yellow of power, yellow of the sun, yellow of sunflowers. [PAUSE]
Imagine the green of the rainbow, shining, glowing, the green of calmness, green of the forest, green of spring wheat. [PAUSE]
Imagine the blue of the rainbow, shining, glowing, the blue of relaxing, the blue of the sky, the blue of a Blue Morpho Butterfly. [PAUSE]
Imagine the indigo of the rainbow, shining, glowing, the indigo of mystery and thought, the indigo of jeans, the indigo of blueberries. [PAUSE]
Imagine the violet of the rainbow, shining, glowing, the violet of the spirit, the violet of amethysts, the violet of galaxies and nebulas. [PAUSE]
Imagine this rainbow as a beacon of rainbow colors, signaling PRIDE support for all of us.
Return now to this place and time, and carry the rainbow of colors with you throughout your day.
Reflection: How did it feel to be a cloud lighting up the sky with a rainbow?
Mindful Moments with Lea about PLAY:
- Remind the child(ren) about the importance of calming ourselves so we can better focus on each other and our time together.
- Tell them that a special friend named Lea has written a song for us to learn and it is a song that teaches us something important about this month’s theme: we have the opportunity to consider the ways we c.
- Center the child(ren) before playing the video.
- After the video, talk and listen with your child to discover all the things you heard together.