‘It is a happy tal­ent to know how to play’

Do they know what Bri­tish Bull­dog is, or Mother May I?

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS - Dona Benac Dona Benac is a North­side res­i­dent and can be reached at dl­beb75@hot­mail.com. Her col­umn will ap­pear ev­ery sec­ond Fri­day in the North­side/Vic­to­ria page of the Cape Bre­ton Post.

“It is a happy tal­ent to know how to play.” This quote from Ralph Waldo Emer­son means as much to­day as it did in the 1800s when he lived.

We hear so much about chil­dren be­ing so wrapped up in elec­tronic games that they don’t know how to “play.” A TV ad tells us to “bring back play,” and that child­hood obe­sity is linked to in­ac­tiv­ity. So, what can they play? Do they know what Bri­tish Bull­dog is, or Mother May I?

Are mar­bles a thing of the past along with bounc­ing ball rhymes? Luck­ily, they still play hide-and-seek, hula hoops are back in style and skip­ping ropes are al­ways pop­u­lar, but maybe they could take some point­ers from their el­ders.

When we (I’m talk­ing se­niors here) were sent out to play in the sum­mer, it meant we found a flat rock and played hop­scotch, or maybe some­one hadn’t lost the ball yet and we played some kind of im­pro­vised ball game.

We climbed on big rocks and jumped off, over and over and over again. We ob­vi­ously found enough to do as we had to be called in to eat meals. No one su­per­vised us ev­ery minute. I’m sure there was a vague un­der­stand­ing of where we would be and that was fine.

We came home dirty, hun­gry, tired and happy, and isn’t that what child­hood should be? Or­ga­nized play is im­por­tant as well. Soc­cer and base­ball are well at­tended but not ev­ery child wants to join teams, so the in­di­vid­ual ac­tiv­i­ties that can be played any­where with lit­tle or no equip­ment is avail­able to all kids.

Be­sides the phys­i­cal ben­e­fits of ex­er­cise, there is a huge so­cial side to play. Co-op­er­a­tion, pa­tience, fair­ness, shar­ing, imag­i­na­tion, prob­lem solv­ing ... these qual­i­ties and more are what will give a child pos­i­tive skills to see him through life, no mat­ter what path he takes. En­cour­age­ment and praise is es­sen­tial for ev­ery child to feel that their achieve­ment is rec­og­nized, and a tro­phy is not nec­es­sary. A pat on the back, a kind word, a cheer, will do him a world of good. So think back a few years to your fa­vorite pas­times in the “good old days” and pass those ideas down to to­day’s youth. They’ll thank you for it.

Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Recre­ation Dept. has a great sched­ule of ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, and lots of en­ter­tain­ment is sched­uled for July and Au­gust. The dead­line for the Miss Teen Cape Bre­ton has been changed to July 10. Call 902-7942350 for more in­for­ma­tion. The C@P So­ci­ety will hold an open house to­day from 1-3 p.m. at the Wil­fred Oram Cen­ten­nial Li­brary. C@P in­terns Breagh Moore from the North Syd­ney site, Ha­ley Ivey from Mil­lville and Al­li­son Miller from Boularderie will be on hand to ex­plain the train­ing avail­able to the public.

If you are afraid of com­put­ers or have a new tablet or e-reader that you aren’t com­fort­able with yet, come in and talk to these knowl­edge­able ladies and set up an ap­point­ment to get some one-on-one train­ing. It seems that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Take care.

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