Influence of Games on Children
Webster’s Dictionary defines “game” as “sport of any kind; jest, frolic” but what if games are more than that? Not to suggest that games are a serious business. Their whole purpose is amusement and entertainment. However, games—specifically those that are originated and executed to the backdrop of an elementary school playground—are essential to character development in young children. Currently, there is a trend across the country in school districts to ban the recess essentials that older generations know and cherish. These “games” are a necessity for our nation’s youth. They install children with the skills needed to live a morally sound, virtuous, mentally proficient, and physically durable life.
Several states across the country (New York, Virginia, Maryland, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and California for example) are embarking on a ridiculous mission to oust games involving contact from school yards. The main concerns include dodge ball (sometimes referred to as bombardment), tag, football, and in some instances, swinging. You heard right. Swinging has been added to the list of contact sports. Educators are concerned that children may push each other on the swings too hard. Alright, fair enough. But why dodge ball and tag?! The velocity and force of impact of an inflated, rubber sphere of doom is apparently disconcerting. Pushing has become problematic in both tag and football. Then, one cannot overlook the immense mental stress that these sports can cause. Children develop self-esteem issues when they are “it” in tag or last chosen in dodge ball and football. And bullies are developed in these games: children that naturally take advantage of those who are smaller, weaker, and slower than themselves.
Well, despite the obvious hazards of play, there goes unseen the mastery of essential life skills--a résumé of both psychological and physical assets. First off, children forge morally sound qualities during play. Our nation has always made it a priority to teach children the ways in which they must interact with one another to become successful and acceptable in our society. The “Golden Rule” is an example of such: “Treat others as you want to be treated.”
There are four basic virtues that all other virtues and benevolent characteristics evolved from. These four were identified in the early Dark Ages and are still considered to be the cardinal virtues. They are, simply: prudence, the science of what to do and what not to do; temperance, abstaining from excess; courage, ability to conquer fear or despair; and justice, the quality of being just or fair, and rendering to every one his due or right. Even in basic school yard play, these qualities are ever-present.
Prudence is about enjoying oneself as much as possible and suffering as little as possible. Prudence can be seen in dodge ball, for example, by the actions of the students. Anticipating a hit shows prudence. The student enjoys the thrill of...