“You are wasting your breath,” a colleague once told me after overhearing my conversation with a parent regarding the importance of free play on that child’s health. “I’ve been telling parents this for years and no one ever understands me. I’ve learned to keep quiet. You’ll see. People just don’t get it.” Her faith in people was lost. I, on the other hand, would not give up that easily.
Fast forward five years, and I’m halfway across the world, in the beautiful country of New Zealand. Rolling green hills surround us at every turn. Here in the small patch of woods, the children are at a TimberNook camp enjoying their freshly cooked popcorn in their bare feet, while sheep wander through the trees nearby. A child suddenly spies the sheep and puts away her snack. “Can I have some rope and scissors please?” The child politely asks. With no questions asked, the young girl is given ample rope and a pair of scissors.
This six-year-old child quickly gets to work. She cuts the rope to the size she wants and makes a large loop at the end. She only asks the adult for help with tying the secure knot. “I’m going to lasso some sheep!” she yells. Other children take notice and start to create their own lassos. Before long, the children are running through the woods trying to lasso the sheep.
The scene that takes place in front of us is therapeutic on all levels: laughter…
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