Laughter is no enemy to learning. – Walt Disney
J ran over to me, a goofy grin on his face, and declared, “We have to knock down the sky. Do you think I can reach the sky?”
I mimicked his grin, and responded, “Well why not, but why would we want to?”
John became serious – though not too serious – as he explained, “Well we have to put up a new sky. A party sky. Because we are celebrating. We need to put cakes in the sky. A sky…cake. No, a cake sky!” By the end of his explanation he had again burst into laughter, and others came over drawn to J.
“And, I think we also should take down the shelf. We have to BREAK IT ALL DOWN.”
J started trying to knock the materials off the shelf.
I said, “Hey J, before we remove all the materials from the shelf can you tell me more about the cake plan? Because if we move all the stuff down…and don’t have cakes….then what!”
John laughs, looks all around avoiding my eyes. “Well..hehe…we should…make….poop cake!”
“Humor is richly rewarding to the person who employs it. It has some value in gaining and holding attention, but it has no persuasive value at all.” – John Kenneth Galbraith
I join in John’s laughter, which only amps up his own laughter. More children walk over and John continues explaining his poop plan.
“Well, we first need poop. And other stuff like sugar. And flour.” John pauses and looks at me, seemingly for a response so I respond, “Naturally. So where do we get this poop?”
The whole group giggles at my question before John answers, “Well from the toilet. First you have to poop it out, then you can pick it up and squish it and then bake it.”
C jumps in and says, “I don’t want to touch poop.” Though she says so in a silly voice.
I mimic her tone and say, “Yeah John, I don’t like the idea of playing with poop. You might have to do it for us.”
John spent the rest of the morning talking about poop cake, explaining how he would cook it, and then eventually when we got outside he used wet sand to represent poop and got a group of peers to cook with him.
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. – E.E. Cummings
I could try and further this moment with the actual baking of a cake. Or by making poop like play-doh. Or by exploring humor in general.
Or I can accept the moment for what it was – pooping around. And see the value in that, just the way it is.
Play is a child’s work and this is not a trivial pursuit. – Alfred Adler