If we "grown-ups" (borrowing the term from Antoine De Saint-Exupery's "The Little Prince") will ask what most children like, they will inevitably answer "play". But this word "Play" does not have a deeper meaning for most of us, in such a way that we are tangled with our daily endeavors which we think is very important. Whether you are a student, a parent, office worker, politician, social activist and most of all religious worker. We think that all of our chores must be taken seriously, so serious we make sure that this specific routine must pass to a protocol, should follow certain principle or standard set by our bosses, society, company, schools and other institutions alike. We do everything just to achieve our goals, and all of it has nothing to do with the word "play".
Recalling my experience with my two years old daughter, Samadhi, while she was playing in a certain park somewhere in Davao. Observing her, I found a deeper sense of understanding of how children relate the thing they called "Play". As I observed my daughter running around, picking up things, look at something, going near anything, stumping her bare feet on the ground, sensing the sand as it tickles her toes and almost bathing herself with muds. She act as if the world is a big playground, safe and comforting, giving her sense of security. But of course we "grown ups" know this world is not safe at all! with all the crimes, accidents and diseases. How come a child like my daughter feel secured during her playtime?
However, I let her go on with her playing and exploring, following her wherever she wanted to go, making sure from a distance that she won't hurt herself badly. With her running around bare feet and muddy, I notice people sometimes look at us with a sense of curiousity and repugnance, as if asking me why I let my daughter mess herself. Their look also tend to tell me that I've been an irresponsible father for not keeping my daughter neat and well-mannered in a public place like the park. Still, I ignore those accusing looks and then again followed my daughter as she approach other children, teenagers and some adults and would utter the word "play,play" (which means lets play) as she is pointing the direction where there are space provided for the children as their playground.
As my daughter approach one person to another uttering the word "play" she gets nothing but a curious look, a sad smile and worst refusal. But their reactions never seize her playfullness as innocent and free-spirited as she is, my daughter Samadhi did the only thing that makes her what she really is...Playing.
And as a father who was once a child, I uttered to myself "I wont let anyone, anyone at all spoil her first glimpse of what should be a total freedom is...
Note: This is not subject for academic criticism. However any comments are welcome. Gusto ko lang I-share sa inyong lahat, ang article na ito na sinulat ng taong pinakamamahal ko (Charing!) Si Jhoy bilang observation nya sa anak naming si Samadhi. Ito ay para sa lahat ng mga magulang at mga anak…
(What is essential is invisible to the naked eye-Little Prince )