But Seriously, Folks...
I read with interest the story in yesteday's Des Moines Register about world class schools. Deputy Editorial Page Editor Linda Lantor Fandel has been running a fascinating series, comparing Iowa schools to those abroad (more recently Finland and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada). One of the things that struck me with the Canadian schools was how much the teachers made learning fun.
In an un-related story yesterday, there was an AP story about a "humans vs. zombies" game at Gaucher College in Maryland. (Hmmmm... sounds like one college is truly preparing their students for the workforce.) While I read through all the hub-bub about letting students use Nerf guns on campus, what really caught my eye were the last four paragraphs:
And on a campus where students refer to each other as "kids," Humans vs. Zombies is a chance to bring back a childhood that some never even got to experience. Growing up with structured activities, safe playgrounds and schools that ban dodgeball, they didn’t get the primal appeal of the chase out of their system.
"My mom didn’t let (toy) guns in the house, and I didn’t get TV till I was 18," Modine said. "This is just me catching up."
Said Asa Eisenhardt, a creative writing major: "It’s our last chance that we get to play pretend and really immerse ourselves, and maybe it’s due to ... the quirkiness of Goucher, but you somehow don’t feel like an idiot when you’re strapped to the gills in Nerf gear and you’re running around yelling squad commands.
"Conversely, can I laugh at myself? Absolutely."
I've asked the question before in this blog, but it begs repeating: Have we forgotten the fine art of "play time"? Do we spend enough time just being goofy? Do we know how to let our hair down (OK, for some of us, that's much more figurative rhetoric) and have fun? Regardless of what I am teaching at Drake, I make sure my students come away with one guiding principle to help them through office politics, project management, or executive leadership:
If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right.
It doesn't matter what "it" is. Every mundane chore has the opportunity to infuse fun.. it's just up to us to let it happen. We're faced with a train-wrecked economy, a world of cowardly terrorists who can strike at a moment's notice, tight budgets, downsizings, corporate corruption, celebrity meltdowns... and the list goes on. We can either sit and fret about it, or we can do what comedians around the world do every day: laugh about it. Make light of it. Poke fun at it. Not to mention the health benefits of good strong laughter, it will also improve your outlook and help you think more clearly.
So on this Monday, make it YOUR accomplishment to stir up some good clean fun ... for your coworkers and for yourself.