Memories of Childhood Play (part 2)

Memories of Childhood Play (part 2)

I teach Psychology at 10+2 level. When I begin a chapter on Group Dynamics (that’s one of my favorites) by asking the students to recall their kindergarten experience of making friends.

Those who can trace-back, old childhood memories share that in very little time they got playmates. To their amazement, groups began to form at such a tender age. And these groups also had leaders (predominantly authoritarian) who decided the game and precious few who could be part it. There were hard-core followers in the group. and few were outrightly denied entry. There would be gossips in and around the group by the kindergarteners in their own little but important ways. Remember, the shy and the ignored ones in your class?

I’ll do a short personal sharing that resonates with the class discussion on group dynamics.

This was primary school and I was a follower in a girl’s group. Most of the girls in the class were keen on being connected to this group. A girl who was obviously a teacher’s favorite, named Kanishka was unanimously chosen as a captain of the girl’s group. (We learned this term ‘captain’ quite early in life to sort human hierarchical structures in our head.) Kanishka decided the games to be played during the sports period. She also decided the rules of the game. Everyone preferred to follow her dictated rules or one would experience refusal to play.

And yes, if it’s my birthday, I would give the honors to Kanishka (as a special friend) and take her along to distribute sweets to teachers. On the way, I would give her few extra sweets.

You see, she is popular and in return, she would give me a better treatment when the girl gang is at play.

Quite occasionally someone would break away from the group. You see, there was conformity and high need for affiliation. But, deep in the heart, everyone preferred to be with Kanishka.

Solitude play evokes different thoughts and emotions than when a child plays with others. Both are significant in the personality development of an individual. 

Recall your days of childhood while you were at play. And I am sure that a number of emotions and thoughts would upsurge…You’ll be able to determine your relationship with yourself and of course others.

 My next article would be a personal sharing of playing with neighborhood friends and this experience is in complete contrast to my role as a ‘follower’ in girl’s group at school.

Memories of Childhood Play

Memories of Childhood Play

I was in primary school. I loved to set up my doll house in one small corner of our drawing-room and play in solitude for days. The play would go on hours till an adult would interject and ask me to do something productive.

As I grew up, my love for my dolls also grew stronger. I would have been 9, when my parents did get a little concerned over my overindulgence with dolls. They would now get a little impatient with my occupancy in that little corner of our drawing-room.

I began to feel that they are unhappy with my play. 

Well, my love to play with my doll house was beyond measure. I decided to take my doll house to one little corner of our huge terrace. I could again play for hours with my dolls. Any approaching adult from family would threaten by asking me to stop the play and get back to studies.

Guilt of playing with dolls also started to settle in me as the adults repeatedly reiterated that my play is age inappropriate. 

Soon, with onset of adolescence, the nature of play changed and obsession with dolls resolved too. 

When I reflect back, there were other forms of play in school and in the neighbourhood. And each bit of play did influence my thoughts and emotions. I would soon be sharing more such experiences. And thereby built ideas on play therapy and ways to engage our children when they play.

 

Readers, share your childhood experiences of play. Significant or insignificant, don’t worry!