The answer to the world’s problems might be a good game of tag.
Everyone who walks into my office comments on how good the view is. It takes in our shiny new science building, the nearby volcanic peak, and a range of hills farther off. Earlier this week, all that was eclipsed by between fifty and a hundred grade school kids running around on the lawn outside the building, playing tag and laughing.
It looked like so much fun just to chase someone. College students don’t do that, and neither do university employees. Which I think is mostly too bad because joy was spilling off those kids. (OK, a friend and I chased each other down a hallway in the new building before it opened, and it was awesome.)
I think that would be one of the great gifts of parenthood—the excuse and the opportunity your child gives you to play and be silly. I don’t think we stop needing to do this as we get older, but sometimes we forget we need it.
Play renews us. It loosens our hearts and spirits and helps us take everything a little less seriously. There are plenty of serious things in this world—disease, the loss of a job—but there are many more things that we blow out of proportion. I suspect that many of my catastrophes would melt away after chasing someone around the yard, having a tickling match, or jumping on the trampoline.
It’s so easy to forget the importance of having fun, and I am grateful to those giggling kids for reminding me that running can be much more than exercise, that life is more fun when we’re not worrying about who’s watching, and that joy is as easy to find as a game of tag.