The gifts of our imaginations and unstructured play

By Charlotte Phillips

It was the end of a particularly busy week. After I picked the kids up from school, I still had a couple hours of work to wrap up my week. After picking out and enjoying our weekly Friday king cake, I sent the kids outside to play.

“What are we supposed to do?” they asked.

“Y’all just play,” I told them.

After a few minutes of bickering back and forth, their whines and complaints were replaced with laughter as their imaginations turned them into horses eating imaginary ice cream.

Our lives are so busy now, rushing from one activity to the next. Even our children’s schedules are filled with homework, extracurricular activities and other fun, but structured, events. On the rare afternoon when there is no homework or extra-curricular activity to rush to, I love peeking into their unstructured play, where their imaginations are free to run wild.

St. Ignatius believed everything is given to us as a gift from God. So, even at the end of a particularly busy week, I still thank God for all the gifts in my life, including the gift of our imaginations and the gift of unstructured play.

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