The Daily Groove

The Play Ethic

According to the work ethic of our culture, happiness comes from hard work and toil. "No pain, no gain."

This contradicts the play ethic of nature: maximizing pleasure while avoiding pain. Nature always follows the path of least resistance.

Children naturally express the play ethic, and a lot of parent-child conflict reflects the clash between the two value systems.

Joyful parenting begins the moment you abandon the work ethic and start taking play seriously. That doesn't mean never working; play is anything done in joy — including "work"!

So if parenting feels like hard work to you, set your sights on a new career of full-time play. But don't change your routine yet. Start with a change in attitude.

Focus on the pleasure potential in every moment and, gradually, a joyful new routine will evolve to match your intentions.

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Re: The Play Ethic

I've been reading "Playful Parenting" and today's "Daily Groove" backs it up beautifully. I might print it out and use it as a bookmark in the book LOL! I relate to this struggle between the life I *want* to live with my kids (approaching things playfully) and the life I often feel like I *should* live (based on the work ethic etc). Thanks, Scott, for expressing it so succinctlly. I appreciate the comparison btw the work ethic in our culture and the play ethic that's intrinsically built into our nature. They are often in conflict with each other, and I think some people are so driven by our culture's work ethic that they've completely lost touch with their inbuilt play nature, and their children suffer for it. Unfortunately, mine do too sometimes. Baby steps in the right direction are happening though, partly thanks to the Daily Groove.