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Sep 11, 2022

"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood." --Fred Rogers

The Politics of Play

"Indigenous philosophies of childhood overwhelmingly agree on one thing: that a child should not be forced into obedience but should have liberty of body, mind, and will. Inuit children have traditionally experienced extraordinary freedom and would become 'self-reliant, caring, and self-controlled individuals,' an Inuit person I met in Nunavut told me. By the age of ten, their self-control is 'almost infallible,' according to anthropologist Jean L. Briggs. Similarly, Amazonian myths place huge importance on self-restraint and self-discipline. Fairy tales seem to teach the same message, according to psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim: at the end of the tale, the child has 'become an autocrat in the best sense of the word -- a self-ruler... not a person who rules over others.' Far from creating selfish brats or Goldingesque monsters, this philosophy emphasizes that the corollary of liberty is self-control." In this intriguing essay Jay Griffiths explores the politics of play.

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