Why Every Adult Needs to Learn to Play


An Invitation

Dear Daughter,

You are cordially invited to wake up and play today.


Your Heavenly Abba


There was only one person in the long line at the post office who was not bored. He was 3 years old. His mother stood several customers ahead of me carrying a large box. Her little boy pulled form after form out of the slots where they sat stacked ready for postal customers to use them, and filed them in the greeting card rack. Annoyance welled up within me. “How can that mother just stand there while he makes a mess like that?” She did stop him once, when he pulled out a stack of about 50 forms at once. “Oh no baby“ the gentle response as she bent down to straighten the stack of green forms. She turned her back and he went back to pulling forms out of slots one at a time.


He must have felt me watching because he turned and looked at me with wide eyed, innocence. With that single look he captured me. My whole perspective changed.

What Is the Difference Between Work and Play?

Children Play with Garbage in Cambodia Slum


The line inched forward and the gentle mom challenged her son to take the forms out of the greeting card rack and sort them on top of the forms that were stacked in the slots under the table next to where she stood. She gently asked if he could put the green ones with the other green ones and even further challenged him to put the forms in the slot so that they exactly matched the forms that were already there, right side up. The little guy focused intently on his play. I call it play instead of work only because he delighted in the task. Working quickly and with full concentration, he finished just after she was called up to get help at the counter.


Did I detect a little swagger of triumph in his step as he confidently finished filing his forms, and calmly joined his mother who was now conducting her business at the counter? The grin on the face of the employee behind the counter betrayed the fact that she too was completely charmed by this little guy.

I doubt the worker who originally stacked the forms did it with anything like the precision or contentment that the little helper did.

Could I Do That Too?

When did I forget what that busy three year old knows? What if I approached every moment as a challenging adventure to be lived? Could each day be a new invitation to explore with freedom, focus, curiosity and disarming charm like a 3 year old? Each morning I could open my eyes with delight that my Father invites me to be his little helper.

Life is an Invitation, not an Obligation

Is it possible to relearn the art of playing at everything? I suspect in the freedom of becoming like a little child I would be more like God. He would accomplish much more through me than he can when I view life as an obligation instead of an invitation.

“Delight yourself in the Lord…”




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One Response to Why Every Adult Needs to Learn to Play

  1. Merrie Lea March 14, 2015 at 8:31 am #

    I really, really love this one! Just what I needed.

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