Character Building - Play
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
IT is doubtless true, as has been pointed out recently by Calvin Dill Wilson, that there is no form of discipline that can take the place of that gained in play by children who join with comrades in various sports. They gain self-control. Ill-temper brings upon them ridicule and gibes which youngsters will not wish to face a second time. They find themselves matched against equal strength and skill and wit, and grow stronger and brighter by the contests. They get over morbid sensitiveness by contact with those who are too absorbed to coddle them.
Parents should play with their children and play right heartily, enjoying each new game even as the youngsters them-selves. The father or mother who does not believe in the educative value of play is to be pitied. The great educator, James Kirkpatrick, has written on this subject as follows: "How shall these helpless and ignorant ones become strong and wise? Chiefly through Nature's old nurse, Play, who charms children into using every power as it develops and finding out everything possible about the very environment from the heavens above to the earth beneath."
Encourage the children to play vigorously and earnestly, and to think about their plays. They should play hard as well as work hard-not lazily or listlessly. An old-fashioned poet has expressed the thought as follows:
Work while you work, and play while you play, This is the way to be cheerful and gay."
Earnest work and vigorous play help greatly in the direction of character-building. At croquet, or checkers, or tennis, children should try to play a good strong game. Into such sports as marbles, or ball, or skating, or swimming they should put energy and vigor. "Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well."
In Volume X of the Library will be found games for children of all ages. We especially recommend for the littler ones such games as "Spinning the Platter," "The Sea King," "Rule of Contrary," "My Master Bids You," and "Honey Pots," and there are many other games in this department of Volume X equally good. For the older children, the following games are always pleasing and popular: "Cross Questions," "Buzz," "Stage-coach," "Dumb Crambo," and "Consequences." In this department many more indoor as well as outdoor games are described.
In the "Home Amusement" section of Volume X (pages 301-420) are indoor games, toys and toy games, tricks, puzzles and conundrums, acting-charades, short plays, and outdoor games. We heartily recommend the little plays and charades, just as we recommend such games as "Authors" and " Quotations."
Among the amusing and entertaining poems and stories in the Library that refer in some way to games and sports are the following in Volume I: "The Unseen Playmate," "A Lobster Quadrille," and "A Good Play." In Volume X the following will be found pleasing and entertaining poems: "Blowing Bubbles," "Sleigh Song," and "Going A-Nutting." In Volume IV there are several good stories for little folks about playing, among which is "The Story of the Big Green Doll," while older children will enjoy "Tom's First Half-Year at Rugby."
In the "Chart of Suggestions," fifth column, will be found hints regarding children's games and sports, and when the youngsters should take them up. Fathers and mothers should see that their children have plenty of wholesome play. They should even take part in the sports of the young folks, and by so doing they will add much to their own happiness as well as to that of the boys and girls.