Essentialism Chapter 7 Discussion Questions

The Value of Play

 

Questions for Essentialism Chapter 7

Download a printable pdf version here.Essentialism Questions Ch. 7

This is a list of discussion questions to help work through the content of the book “Essentialism” By Greg McKeown.

Major principles:

Recreation and play does not threaten a productive life, it is vital part of helping us grow and become more creative.

Key examples/illustrations

  • The story of Mr. Banks from the movie Mary Poppins. His dreary life is transformed by something as simple as flying a kite
  • Author Ken Robinson has expressed how our education system is killing creativity in children.  This transformation arrived with the Industrial Revolution.
  • Stuart Brown and the National Institute for Play. He has published scientific research about the impact of play on our brains.
  • The correlation between survival in animals (like the grizzly bear) and rates of survival.
  • Edward M Hallowell, psychiatrist, speaks about the effect of play on the executive function of the brain.
  • Throughout history many great discoveries happened during times of play.

Questions

  1. McKeown defines play as, “Play, which I would define as anything we do simply for the joy of doing rather than as a means to an end.” What are some activities in your life right now that fit this description? Use this definition to make a list of things you have done in the last 6 months for play.
  2. As children we did not need to be taught how to play.  Children play at all times, even during sickness and tragedy. What does this suggest to you about the importance of play?
  3. It is easy to view play as a waste of time.  Highly driven people and teams may even consider it something trivial or unproductive. What is your view? How do you feel about playing? What does your inner voice say to you when you stop work to engage in recreation?  What pressures or beliefs are communicated to you by your peers and culture regarding play?
  4. There are some people that are “all play and no work.” These excesses may prevent us from seeing the virtues and benefits of play.  Do you know someone in your life that is a productive and playful person? Someone who is highly effective and yet takes time for hobbies and recreation? Describe this person and their productivity as well as their play.
  5. The author uses the term imaginative play. What does this mean to you? Is there a difference between imaginative play and other kinds of play? Is one better than the other?
  6. Sir Ken Robinson says that imagination produces achievement. If imagination is a muscle, then play exercises that muscle. Do you agree with this?  Why? In your experience how has play helped you to develop your imagination?
  7. You have probably heard someone explain how they ruined a hobby by turning it into a “for profit” business.  How can you guard your important hobbies or play from the obligations that might destroy them?
  8. Stress kills creativity. Play can help to decrease stress. What stresses are you facing currently? How can you use recreation and play to decrease your stress?
  9. Which activities help you to feel light and free? Which activities help you to forget your problems?
  10. Many great discoveries and inventions happened during play. Have you ever had a breakthrough during a time of play?
  11. Many successful companies incorporate play in their corporate structure.  Examples include Google, Twitter, Apple, etc.  does your business or work encourage play? Why or why not?
  12. What activities outside of work do you must enjoy? Which activities would you like to try? Make a list
  13. How can you add these activities to your calendar next week?
  14. Which activities were your favorite as a child? Explore this.  Does this play history reveal anything about you or what you enjoy doing?
  15. How can you use this knowledge to help you learn how to play as an adult?

30 Questions to Ask Your Kid Instead of “How Was Your Day?”

My friend Katie shared this article with me. It is simple but still good. It might not seem like a big deal at first. But these discussions about how to do something simple, like talk with your kids, are important because it is easy to try,  and fail. Try again, fail again. And then give up. Sometimes perseverance combined with a little wisdom can win the day.

Mark it down, having lots of conversations with your kids should be at the very top of your priority list.  This might be the key (in broad terms) to raising your kids. It is not a silver bullet, but it is probably the next best thing.  Talk to them about everything. Mingle it with love, grace and truth. Sadly, most of us are looking for something more expensive, and more exotic, more worthy of social media. But the best things in life often seem ordinary.  Your kids don’t need more activities, and more technology. They need more time with you. The Bible is clear on this in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, which basically says we are to be talking with our kids all the time (and especially talking to them about God).

Sadly, many of us give people in lab coats more weight than scripture.  But in this regard, they have come to similar conclusions.  Talking with your children is good for them (and for you!).  It will help them build relationships, grow in emotional intelligence (and this article too), develop language skills,  improve school performance, etc.

By the way, you need to build a conversational relationship with your kids before major problems enter your household, and they will.  This means you need to do this before the teen years arrive. And you need to maintain this relationship during the teen years. If you regularly talk to your kids– all the time– then when they fail a test, get in a fight, crash the car, try out drugs, look at porn, (and fill in whatever other parenting nightmares you have) then you already have a well worn pathway to help shepherd them through the problems they are facing.

And yet…. talking with our children can be hard work. It can be draining to push for a conversation when they don’t want to talk.

Well, don’t give up… Try some of these. It is a silly list, but fun. There is much more to be said.

This one was one of my favorites:

“8. Which one of your teachers would survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?”

Source: 30 Questions to Ask Your Kid Instead of “How Was Your Day?”