Why is Play Not Enough?

I love the sound of kids play as I work. 
The sound of the ball hitting the bat. 
The victory calls and squeals of joy from the park below 
that soar up twenty seven floors,
The out-not out; the goal, the missed goal, the arguments.
I love those sounds. 

And especially during the holidays, when they continue through the day. 
Despite the sun, the hunger pangs, even the rain, they go on and on…
My head can’t stop wondering why this is not their life all the time. 

Victory calls and squeals of joy that soar through the air and walls

Why does childhood have to be locked away into classrooms, 
into walls, 
into benches
where they are told to hold still, 
sit straight, 
talk when spoken to, 
behave as expected to. 

I wonder why play is not teacher enough, 
when it teaches us so much more about life…
about how to fit in, 
how to build friendships and tackle bullies, 
deal with rejection or to accept companionship. 

Why is play not enough when it teaches you right from wrong, 
or grey areas in the black and white. 
Resistance, compliance and resilience are all lessons of the game. 
When to help someone, stand up for someone or stand up to someone. 

Play teaches you when to help someone, stand up for someone or stand up to someone

Why is play not good enough when negotiation skills are tested best here, 
when barters and trade is best learnt on the ground, 
when numbers and scores teach better maths than the green slate or black board, 
when you learn to argue like lawyers, 
take decisions like judges, 
build games and plan like designers and entrepreneurs. 
After all, leadership, policy-making and governance are all also taught here. 

Resistance, compliance and resilience are all lessons of the game

I wonder yet again, 

why they have to go back into the walls 
with burdened backs and wilted faces, 

with little choice in decision making, 
to be told of their incompetence, and their inabilities,
to ape and obey, 
to rattle and rhyme. 
I wonder yet again, why play is not enough
when there is no better teacher of life. 

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