When a child plays, a child learns far more effectively than say, when a child is taught a lesson in school, and, as we all know, learning when we don’t know that we’re learning can be quite fun. Children always get a bad wrap or are short-changed or screwed in some way by every adult they encounter. It’s as if adults want to forget, or worse, never admit that they, too, were once children for a time. Adults typically speak down to children. Literally, of course, if the adult is taller, but also, figuratively. Adults too often times consider children’s yet-obtained knowledge as stupidity or slowness, when the opposite could not be more true. Children learn at an incredible pace, especially when compared to grown adults. But when an adult is confronted with a child, the adult feels like it knows so much more, and it does, but it only does because it’s lived longer at this point.
Another way adults do a disservice to children is through the force of schooling in the academic sense of classrooms and textbooks. Nothing about the typical school environment teaches a student how to learn. Sure, children learn all sorts of facts and theories and equations and methods, but they do not learn how to learn. A child’s education is, in essence, the responsibility of adults, but since the vast majority of adults were educated by the adults before them, the cyclical problem begins to be understood. Taking the bulk of society as a whole, the unequal quality of the status quo between the haves and the have-nots becomes increasingly apparent. The inequity reveals itself to be less about actual financial inequality and more about the level and type of education these differing groups obtain. Well, that is to say, one supposes, more money buys more everything, including education. So, the unequal educational system does weigh heavily upon the financial inequality found within the world. But alas …
When generation after generation continue to fail the incoming group of children, a divide is inevitable. Basic education, the kind that typically consists of kindergarten through twelfth grade, is not about discovering who is the smartest or brightest. Basic education is about educating children for the world. There are simply some things that society, at large, decides ought to be known by all people who want to live successfully within that society. What a child will then do within that society as a contributing member comes later. Of course, all of this becomes painfully meaningless in a world filled with bigots and proponents of supremacy and impossible to overcome in a world run by a handful of self-serving elite.
Nevertheless, when a child plays, that child learns something, always, whether or not the child is aware of the lesson. Thus, play and playtime embody this form of learning how to learn. When a problem arises during playtime, a child is forced to fix it or come up with a solution so that s/he may continue playing. Many things about life and the world have answers, but there are far more things in life that definitely do not have a right answer. This is how adults deprive children of the most important factor of life and living, and then those children grow up to deprive the next generation of children of the same lesson. That lesson is this, and it is simple: Adults refer to the play that children partake in as “child’s play,” and they use that same moniker for things that they perceive within the adult world as easy or of no use. And this is where the point of life, living and learning seems to be completely missed. According to adults, nothing easy is worth doing. If, however, play time is the easiest way for a child, and thereby anyone, to learn, then that means that learning through play is the most effective way to learn. Since playing is fun, learning is now fun. Everyone likes to do fun things, adults included. When did adults decide that fun was unproductive and ease was undesirable?
In the end, perhaps, consider this: Does life really need to be so hard?