Recapturing the playfulness of children


By Jona Kraft

To paraphrase Nietzshe, “human maturity, is to have captured the playfulness one had as a child at play.”

So according to Nietzshe, if one didn’t fully capture the entity of playfulness of being a child at play, then wouldn’t it be more difficult, if at all possible, to reach full maturity?

I wonder about what the playtime I was allotted as a child did to me, and how it made me who I am today, versus that of a typical Taiwanese child.

From my interactions with the Taiwanese educational system, I think there needs to be more play time rewarded into the Taiwanese student’s experience. There is a lack of allocated time and facilities to play in for students of any age. In my childhood, the formula was simple: work so you could play more. Easy motivation.

Play allowed my imagination and personality to form who I really was, and who I am today.

From a social perspective, I think there is a great amount of experience that can be obtained in the free time after school, during practice or among a club.

Simply lounging in the parking lot or in the hallway after school, to me, is the epitome of kids at play. Social skills, the concept of team ambition, and random ideas are developed within these moments, not to mention the simple understanding that asking questions is the best way to maintain a conversation.

One of the best times of playfulness I ever had was in the duration of my college experience.

Is it a typical Western ideology to move out in order to attend college, to live, essentially, on one’s own, and to scheme one’s way around the constantly arriving obstacles and opportunities amidst one’s chaotic path? Yes. For those who choose to play that game, they know it is life changing, yet not defining, as it solely holds the opportunity to obtain a key to cross more easily into the next level.

How can one say that what we learn while we are at play is not important? During my stint at college, my friend and I, Shawver, figured out the rules of how to get into any house party. It’s simple: 1. Bring a heroic amount of alcohol (excessively more than what would put you in a maniac-stupor state). 2. Introduce yourself to everyone you meet, asking who’s fine establishment this is, until you meet one of the hosts 3. Befriend the hosts. 4. Pass out drinks and don’t hit on anybody’s girlfriend. 5. Enjoy.

If figuring out a way to manipulate yourself into virtually any situation isn’t a skill that is necessary for the real world, then the rest of the knowledge that I acquired during my time at college is as frivolous as the usefulness of one of those yellow rain jackets from 7-Eleven you use while riding on a scooter during a typhoon in Taiwan.

In contradiction to traditional Taiwanese thought, I believe that Taiwanese university students who live at home during their entire college career miss out on the opportunities to embrace play in it’s ripest form. And that, to me, is such a pity, for if one can see the light they are fighting for, then the current moment might be seized a bit more ambitiously, more enthusiastically, and more happily in order to achieve play.