A champion’s outlook – #playmatters
As a mother, do you know what I pray for most for my twins Rengpa and Nainai? That they lead a happy, free and healthy life. Health is the key to success. If we are healthy, there are immense possibilities before us. The mind is capable of magic, but we need physical stamina and energy to transform this magic into reality. As a sportswoman, I can tell you with conviction that there is no better route to health than robust physical activity.Where I come from, and where my children are growing up, nature is all around us. It’s a common sight to see children racing down hills, playing in the rain, chasing each other through fields, or walking through the meadows to school. Rarely would you come across a child howling because of a scraped knee or a hurt elbow. Kids grow into strong, sturdy people with lots of physical energy and stamina. I attribute this glory of well-being to the region’s open spaces and grounds that allow us to grow up in the midst of nature. Following my recent Olympic win, I had the good fortune of traveling across the country where I saw kids playing on roads with traffic zipping past them. I went to schools with one concrete building and not even a compound, leave alone a playground. High-rise apartment blocks were surrounded by roads but had no access to gardens or grounds. This lack of open playgrounds has amazed me. How must little children feel, being confined in closed spaces with no outlets for their immense physical energy? Children usually play in open spaces – parks, playgrounds, backyards – not in balconies, corridors or worse-streets. As more villages become towns, more towns become cities and cities explode into metropolises, do we want our children to spend their childhood in jail? Playgrounds allow for imagination to grow – and with it creativity comes alive. Open playgrounds are a world where every child is an equal, with access to everything. They are often the first spaces that unearth hidden talents and sporting geniuses. Watch kids race, wrestle, box and scramble, all in fun, and you will know what reflexes your child uses the most and to best effect. School playgrounds are where first trophies and medals are won, where talents are spotted and groomed. Imagine our land without the delight of such fertile grooming spaces and the loss it means for children and childhood. Why can’t we as mothers demand playgrounds as a right to free living and an expression of childhood? We should insist that schools are not schools without open playgrounds. We need to collaboratively build a movement to reclaim our children’s right. We as parents, communities and responsible adults can give direction to this movement.I urge you all to look at play not as a waste of time, but as a necessity. Playing encourages children to participate, socialize, cooperate and team up. It allows them to experiment with situations, toughening them up physically and mentally. Play allows children to get away from drudgery of daily routine, to mingle with other kids, explore and enjoy their differences and similarities and grow up to be healthy confident adults Indeed this would be the best gift we can give our children.
An extract of an article published by the Times of India on August 29, 2012.
Photo Credits : Unknown
Words By : Mary Kom
Mary Kom is a boxer and Olympic medal winner. She is the mother to 3 sons, 2 of whom are twins.