“Play” is the instinct of all young beings. It is observed all over the world, among cubs and calves, and among puppies and pip squeaks. Play is the fast track to the soul of a child. Play is how children explore complex situations in a safe way (e.g., good versus evil with action figures, social niceties with dolls at a tea party).
Play is said to have an “as if” quality that makes it “real” and therefore powerful. Remember the wonderful urgency with which you used to play as a child. Play is how we learn about things, about ourselves, and about others.
Interestingly, as the demands of adulthood suppress the wonders of play, our children persist in their play and fantasy, unbothered by our sour-faced gravity. As “Maximum Strength Parents” rediscover play through our children, we certainly become better parents, and maybe we even become better people.