Playfulness, Safety, and Risk Taking

Play is a one of the most powerful attitudes for change and growth in the human repertoire. During play we create; we imagine; we explore; we use our minds more associatively. We get in touch with deeper parts of ourselves. Some of these parts are old friends almost forgotten, and some are scary parts locked away for our safety. During play we take risks and make mistakes girded in the armor of our imagination and our friendships. Play is not childish nonsense. It is the serious work of growing. Play builds community and helps people to grow.

For people to be free to play:

•     They need to feel safety in your trustworthiness.

•     They need to feel accepted. As a teacher I must understand and accept my students as they are, if growth is going to occur.

•     They need to be allowed by those in authority, by others and by themselves to make mistakes.

•     They need good models of mistake making by those in charge.

•     They need to see a playful, but responsible attitude modeled by those in charge.

•     They need to be gently reminded of the prime directive when they test the boundaries. “At this dance we take care of each other.”