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Can Johny Come Out and Play?


Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. (Exodus 20:9-10 NKJV)

It is evident that God meant for man to work, and for man to rest and play. Rest is not the lack of activity. When one rest he is not expected by God to sit around the house all day. So, what does God mean for man to do on the sabbath? God meant for man to play. Competitive play? Is that not the same as work? In days gone by when everything was pretty much closed on Sunday, we went swimming, some went fishing, and others took a leisurely walk. Many people took a drive out into the country and perhaps had a picnic. There was no going to work for anybody except maybe a hospital doctor or a gas attendant, but most of those were closed also. Families and friends spent time in church in the morning worshiping, and the afternoon we had “no plans.” Think of it: a whole afternoon to do whatever one felt like doing, as long as it did not make another person have to work. Perhaps we should be fighting to bring back the Sabbath Sunday to this country. Or should it be on Saturday? Saturday is my play day. From sunset Friday to sunset Sunday. I take the day off to play. My husband asked me last Saturday, “Honey, what are you going to do today?” I replied, “Whatever I want, and I went to the beach.”

Interestingly, when I was a young child, I was told how far I was allowed to go by myself. By the time I was three, I was allowed to cross the street by myself and go three houses up, as far up the street as Uncle John’s house. Several of my friends lived across the street, so this was wonderful. I would often knock on their doors and ask, “Can_

come out and play?” I was usually told yes by my friend’s parents, or not right now, but you are welcome to come inside and play. By the time I was six, I was allowed to write a note about where I was and go anywhere in the neighborhood I desired. Those were the days. My friends and I often played outside all day, even after supper, until the streetlights came on. At that time, we had to be home and were only allowed outside with an adult. Many nights, my father would yell out the back door to my sister, “_it’s time for supper; you need to come home. My sister would yell back, “I’m coming.” This usually meant she was late and would be grounded. I think most young people today live grounded. “Grounded” meant we couldn’t leave our yard. The only thing worse than being grounded was being sent to our room alone. As children growing up, we played together as much as possible.

Unfortunately, most parents fear letting their children out of sight today. With all this country's kidnappings and child abuse, it is understandable, but do children still play? Before Covid, all the fast-food restaurants had tunnels and play areas open to customers. This allowed young children to play together safely while their parents watched while sitting close by. Children today must have play dates. Gone is the freedom young children had to explore and create their own friendships. Middle and high schoolers play sports, but where has the relaxing imaginative play gone? Every sport has become so competitive. Does anyone play sports just for the fun of it anymore? Of course, winning at something is fun, but not if the other person is not having fun, too. I want to play for fun, but I am often told to take some lessons and play when I get good enough to compete. I don’t want to play for competition all the time. I want to play for fun and exercise. Do I have to be on a team now to play a sport?

I challenge my readers, to take a day off, once a week, to play.


Lord, I pray that the children of this country and the adults can learn to play for fun again, not caring so much who wins but rather asking themselves whether all have had fun. Amen

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