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Play y p peace leads to

by Jay Beckwith

The claim that play leads to peace may seem to be an outrageous assertion but I am confident that by the end of this essay you will not only agree but also come to believe that it may be the best means of creating a more peaceful planet.

FIRST, LET’S BE CLEAR, I will be talking about world peace, a reduction in war and the subjugation of people. We tend to think that ending wars comes from either victory on the field of battle or through negotiation by ambassadors. Both victory and truce only terminate conflict, they do not prevent it. Our contention is that true peace comes with the first breath of each newborn child as they are uncorrupted by hate, fear and tribal 8 PLAY AND PLAYGROUND ND M MAGA MAGAZINE AZINE NE WINTER WINTE N ER 2 2016 201

allegiance. We will therefore start with the child and show how play in childhood creates the essential seed of a peaceful world.

The Peaceful Child It is obvious that children lack prejudice toward others and it is taught to them as they become increasing integrated into the life of their community. It would be great if we could avoid doing that but it is just not realistic to think that parents, neighbors, teachers and peers will avoid indoctrinating

children with their values. Since social integration is both inevitable and necessary, children must have the capacity to rise above the negative aspects of their acculturation. Being able to rise above fear and hate requires an inner strength, and free, child-directed play is the best way to build this strength of character. There are five ways that play has this power. At the most fundamental level, to become independent thinkers children must have secure parental bonds. Over the past several decades attachment theory has been well studied and verified. We know that children who are not confident that they are loved and valued become either withdrawn or fearful. In today’s highly mobile

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Play Leads to Peace, Swings, Ropes and the Power of Play  

For the final issue of 2016, we have asked many professionals and organizations to write about the various aspects of play and the benefits...

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