Let the children play

Ottawa Citizen

2008 12 19

Let the children play

By David Warren

….A girl was witnessed sneaking up on a boy and trying to shove a dead crab down his trousers. The author’s rather insulated daughter asked him why the girl had done that. “Because she likes him,” was his knowing adult reply. I would comment that we have adults today, teaching in our schools, who are just as insulated as Mr. Keltner’s daughter, and perhaps even more puzzled about the behaviour of their charges. I know this because I have met a number, both male and female — the products of grim feminist indoctrination…. Full Story (That link no longer functions, but here is a link to the original article from which David Warren had quoted.)
F4L: David Warren’s article contains a comment that I found especially interesting:

“On the main theme, there is a book by Johan Huizinga, entitled Homo Ludens (1938; literally, “man the player,” but really untranslatable from Latin), greater I think even than his acknowledged masterpiece, The Waning of the Middle Ages.

In this book, the magnificent Dutch historian and linguist shows that play is not merely an element in human societies, but essential to them; that human cultures are themselves largely products of many forms of play. “Civilization is, in its earliest phases, played. It does not come from play like a babe detaching itself from the womb: it arises in and as play, and never leaves it.”

From our observations in raising sheep (the source of income and goal of our farming operation for many years), play is even important for sheep (and of course for many other animals as well).

During the springtime, when lambing came to an end, and when the lambs and their mothers had been put together with our whole flock of sheep, it was a very enjoyable sight to see all of the lambs playing in the evening, around sunset.  They would run and surge like a river from end of the yard to the other, oblivious to anyone like me standing in the yard, while their mothers were happily munching the feed we had just laid out for them.

We learned quite a bit about the similarities of sheep and humans over the years, and not just about the similarities of their playful behaviour.  I summarized some of what we learned in Of Sheep and People — and of my e-mail address.

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