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Go to Your Nearest Playground!
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Entered as second-class matter June 12, 1929, at the Post Office at New York, New York, under Act of March 3, 1879. Acceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided for in Section 1103. Act of October 3, 1917, authorized May 1, 1924.
Copyright, 1937, by the National Recreation Association
How Can I Make People Like Me?
OT THE CLOTHING WORN, not the house lived in, not the position held makes people like you; rather what you yourself are, the amount of life there is in you, the spirit you carry, your inner attitude toward others.
A zero or near zero person does not excite you overmuch. You do not like or dislike, you just make an effort not to ignore.
Father—your father—may be as faithful as any machine, as regular as any clock, may keep more than ten commandments, may be a one hundred percent meal ticket, but—suppose he cannot tell any bed-time stories, cannot sing, cannot act, cannot even make a willow whistle, comes home every night too tired to smile, too tired even to talk much, too dull even to be a live listener, if he has no "language of play," of human relationship through which to share himself with his family, of what use is he to his child? Food, clothing, shelter the child takes for granted—that of course, but what more—what extra?
What is above the basement of life,—the life activities, the recreation activities— gives meaning even to the foundation. Recreation helps to make and keep you a person and makes it easier for you to reveal what you really are.
Just being “a person” is of course not enough. The kind of person you are is important. Many vital, dynamic people push and crowd and shove and are plain disagreeable. They just are "poison.” Recreation does aid in keeping poisons from accumulating inside, in keeping lives ventilated and flowing. The face lights up more easily, it is easier to remember that there are other people, if you have some recreation, if you have the spirit of play inside. Even individual play is not really solitary. You like to see other people's faces light up, too.
How can you make people like you? First, be careful in choosing your grandparents. Even if they lived the hard life of pioneers make sure that they attended the barn raisings and the huskings and sang in their homes on Sunday night. Then choose your father with care and even more your mother. If you can find a mother who was herself a play leader, a kindergartner, a Camp Fire girl, a Girl Scout, so much the better. You want a mother who makes the home a real center with music and games and the sharing of all good living. Then be careful in choosing a place to be born. As you look about, make sure the neighborhood has a playground, a recreation center near, where you can always go when you are free and be sure of finding other children who want to play, where you can have a marvelous time, with a good, happy play leader in charge. Then later you will never have memories of being lonely as a child, of being bored, left out, of being bullied by older boys, or learning to bully others yourself. As you look for a birthplace, be sure there is a church where there is opportunity for members and their families to play together as well as worship together.
You tell me that your grandparents, and parents, and neighborhood and church are all settled. You are really grown up now. You have no memories of happy childhood recreation in the home and in the neighborhood center. Well, that is just too bad. Where do you come in?
Why not pretend that you did have all that you would wish for your children? Why not live as if you had been brought up in the play tradition—to live a little time each day or at least each week—if you cannot live all the time? Why not live as play-trained children do as if work were not the end of all life,—live with your children, your neighborhood, your generation? Why not help to unite all men of good intent in making at least a part of the world happier, hoping that a happier world for all will be at least a little better world?
We cannot always know morally what is better and what is worse. Usually it is easier to tell what are the human activities that bring enduring joy.
How can you make people like you?
Even a dog is puzzled when he finds a man without the spirit of play, a man who makes no response when a stick is temptingly dropped at his feet. If you want dogs and men to like you, keep the play spirit, keep the world around you one that has the play spirit.