Friday Two Cents: Lets Just Go Out And Play



This past week there was an article published in the Toronto Star that referred to a resent survey by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).  They took a look into the lives of their students.  It asked them various questions about themselves, their school, teachers, etc. The results surprised many people and it was the top of the news cycle of the day.

I won’t go into too much detail, you can read the article, Toronto Students worry about family, school and future, survey finds, online.  Suffice it to say they found that 60 – 70% of students, from grade 7 – 12 had anxieties about their future.  Students, from the age of 12 years, are nervous about their future.

What gets me is how surprised everyone is with the results.  I work in the field and I have seen this with many students from the age of 10.  Maybe because I am in the field I can see that the children are a bit stressed out, but what do you expect from the world today.

The article mentions that with the present economic crisis, students are more aware of the world around them.  I say yes!  They are very aware.   How can you not be aware when it affects your family?  I too remember when my father had lost his job, after 25 years, when I was 12 years old.  But god bless my parents they, tried to keep things as normal as possible, yet I knew things where different.

I still did kid things, little league, skating, riding my bike; in short I played.   However, I see children at the age of 10 and 11 not wanting to go outside and play.  All they want to do is bring out their schoolwork and read or do their homework.

Many ask me if they can bring out their homework or read.  I tell them that they need a break from all the work and relax.  I tell them that they need to move around and use those large muscles.  We will give you the opportunity to do you work but now is the time to have some fun and play.

All of you who look and me as some kind of hippie and say, “You’re not living in the real world.  They have to do their work to get ahead in life.”  I say yes they do, but you still have to give your mind a rest and just relax.

I will give all of you a little bit of advice that I have learned from my professor.  He said every hour or two take a break for your work.  It will help you recharge and refocus, especially if you work with computers.  I thought about what he said and thought like many of you, I have to get my work done.

However, my friend at the time was a smoker and every hour he had to go outside for a smoke break.  I don’t smoke but I went with him to keep him company.  You know that five minutes going out and getting away from my desk actually helped.  When I get back to my work I continued and I did feel a bit refocused.

I continued to do the same thing to this day.  I don’t smoke but I do take breaks from my work to help me refocus.  I sometimes play cards or video games and I tell the child the same thing.

I taught children a class on computer skills and this is one of the things I always tell them.  For every hour you are on the computer, walk away and do something else.  It will help you relax your mind and refocus on the tasks you need to do.  In short, go and play for a bit.

Recently, I forgot my own advice and my stress levels where going up.  One day I stopped myself and said, “Stupid!  Stop working for a bit and RELAX!”  I did and just played solitaire with real cards and I did feel better.  I needed that kick in the pants to remind me.

The world is already stressful enough without us adding to it.  Maybe we all need to just relax, adults and children.   Perhaps we all need to re-acquaint ourselves with an old idea, play.


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