The Value of Play

The Value of Play

Today I want to address the value of play and specifically the type of “play” there is.   One of the most amazing definitions of “play” I ever found was when a friend of mine was defining it by distinguishing play from work:  “Play should be called ‘work without a purpose’.  It could also be called ‘activity without purpose.’  That would make work be defined as ‘activity with a purpose.’”

Isn’t that a cool definition!  For work to be work you would have to have a known purpose and then causatively work towards that.

But play now!  You could randomly just imagine and invent things and run and count and do all kinds of things because they bring you pleasure with no purpose at all!

Well if that is the case, then what would be the purpose of play at all?  Shouldn’t all activities be directed and calculated to have a more productive life?  OK … so let’s look at it.

First of all, when we play we feel happy generally.  Even if it includes work such as walking, building, working out a puzzle of sorts, it is because we chose it for no real purpose at all and the win of it makes us happy!  That in itself has some really strong survival potentials.  A happy person is extroverted in his viewpoints, he is looking out at others and helping and creating “out there”.  A sad introverted person tends to be looking in at himself, his pictures and thoughts, therefore not seeing the world outside around him as well; not as able to see trouble coming in and so not as able to avert it physically or with reason.

Secondly, in play, especially for children, we learn skills that have survival potential.  Let’s for a second look at what survival potential jumping rope or playing tag has.  A person is jumping, using vital muscles, increasing heart rate, boosting metabolism and oxygen in the body and strengthening bones.  Tag, same thing but now you are adding some dexterity and depth perception to the game.

Let’s take board games:  we are learning about taking turns, that it is OK to lose sometimes and that in fact, it is a crucial part to having a game. We learn from losing as much as we enjoy the win of winning.  Often in board games we must count, read letters, words and numbers, sometimes we have to do math.  These are all good survival factors.

All of the arts hone our skills and teach us better control of our bodies and our imagination, which is so important to creating a future and resolving problems.

Now let’s compare this to some of the video and computer games that are out there:  the person is sitting in front of a screen for hours at a time.  OK, good exercise for the typing skills and maybe some reasoning, but most of these games that I’ve seen have been violent in nature.  The person is sitting there “led” for hours at a time — the rest of the body atrophying away.  And the other games I’ve seen have game scenarios that are a substitute for living.  Instead of going out to a soccer field to play soccer, where one would interact with a group of people, exercise their muscles and work as a team; the person is usually alone or with one other person exercising their typing and reasoning skills.  Yes it is still play, as for that individual it is enjoyable and purposeless.  But the quality of this sort of hypnotic play and the sort of play mentioned above have far less survival factors for the person.  Maybe I am wrong and have not seen all the games out there, but the ones I have seen often bypass the person’s imagination.  Even when it seems like it is leading you to use your imagination, it is limiting you in giving you only choices arising from someone else’s created imaginings.  This could tend to lead down a road of robotical thinking for children.

So what is my pitch here?  Well this is it: I want to encourage parents to shoo your kids out of the house to go play. Even if they have no one to play with they can find a stick to carve or a bunch of marbles to make a game with.  And if more parents shooed their kids out of the house then there would be kids to play tag with.  And if you provided them with jump ropes and balls they would jump rope and play catch.  When the TV and computers are not available, kids will play!  It is what we all do.

And at home have lots of puzzles and board games and cards around to play. And once a week have a game night with your kids where you all sit around playing the game.  You can even have a story night where you pick a story you like to read.  One family I know would put on plays for each other. They actually read something like Oliver Twist and each took a part or two and acted it out.  Occasionally they sang or danced for each other.  So much more fun than just being a spectator watching others entertain us.

Well, there it is.  I’m giving myself this same advice!  I don’t claim to be perfect or a saint.  I totally admit that I continually need to be reminded to turn off that computer or the television.  But when I do, I and my kids are always better for it.

Wishing you magic in your world,

Diane DiGregorio Norgard
Mace-Kingsley Family Center



Data on Control and Kids

About 15 years ago I was in the grocery store. Having picked up what I needed, I was lined up at the checkout behind a lady who had a full cart and a little boy who looked about 4 years old. As she started unloading her cart onto the belt, the little boy reached for the gum and chocolate displayed within convenient reach. “Mom, can I have some of THAT?”

We all know that having candy available right next to the checkout is a diabolical scheme set up specifically to lure small children and annoy their parents into making purchases they otherwise wouldn’t consider. But in this case, Mom held firm. “Look, we have a roast and your favorite veggies and even some ice cream for dessert. Grandma and Grandpa are coming over for a special dinner. So no candy today.”

I swear to you that at this point, the little boy was fine. He’d asked, Mom had answered. But then she added one little word. She said, “Okay?”

There were a couple of beats of silence as the little boy considered his options. I watched in fascination as the wheels turned in his head. Mom had now asking for his OPINION. So it seemed like she wanted to know if it was okay with him if he missed out on the candy. And of course he said: “NO! I want the candy!!”

It seemed to the mom that her boy was giving her a hard time, so she told him again, “No candy… “…Okay?”

Needless to say, after this the two did not see eye to eye. The little boy screamed, Mom scolded. Bribery from the harassed checkout lady didn’t work, because by now the little boy knew that not only was he not going to have any of that candy, but also that Mom could care less what he thought. After all, she kept asking for his opinion, he kept telling her and she kept right on ignoring him!! Geez! (I could imagine him thinking – just wait until I’m a teenager, I’ll show you!)

L. Ron Hubbard says this about control:
“You are stating a greater truth when you say that control is predictable change than if you say control is start, change and stop because start and stop are, of course, necessary to change. You might say the thinking or philosophic definition would be predictable change.” (From Lecture on March 10th 1957, Referenced in the Technical Dictionary)

The bottom line is that beings really don’t “natively” fight good control. Control applied with firmness and kindness is a relief. But the silly mechanical additive of “okay?” without any meaning behind it can wreak havoc with good, predictable, control. In the above story, if the mom had gone ahead and given her boy the candy she had told him he could choose about, that would’ve been fine. She would have respected his opinion. But by adding “okay?” at the end of a COMMAND instead of simply stating what she wanted, she left her boy confused and angry.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this one little word, this one little faux pas, plays a large part in the rebellion we feel is “normal” in teenagers today. Because if you grow up being “told” day in and day out that your parents don’t care what you think, why should you care what they think?

Mr. Hubbard continues on the subject of control and children:
“How would you like to be pulled and hauled and ordered about and restrained from doing whatever you wanted to do? You’d resent it. The only reason a child “doesn’t” resent it is because he’s small. You’d half murder somebody who treated you, an adult, with the orders, contradiction and disrespect given to the average child.” (From How To Live With Children, Scientology Handbook.)

So there you have it; the subject of controlling children is really not that difficult. It starts with the small things, the mechanical things that, mishandled, can blow up into huge problems. I’ll go over more aspects of good control and children in coming articles, but this is the simple starting point: make sure your commands really are commands.


Sandy Mesmer
Mace-Kingsley Family Center

(25 years working with Children)


Even More on Gaining Control

Today I want to share something I learned from Carol Kingsley more than twenty years ago.  To give you a little more background on this subject, I am going to tell you that I grew up in a very Italian family.  By nature, Italians tend to be very loving, emotional people. While that is a generality, by my observation I’d have to say that is mostly true.  In my family it was not uncommon to see within a half-hour period my mother sternly asking me to get a chore done, yelling at my laziness, then kissing me and praising me for my accomplishment, then yelling again at my sister, then hugging her and sitting her down to quietly teach her something, then more yelling (I’m not really sure why)…, etc, etc. etc.  There is just a lot of emotion in my family and we are definitely loud in our praise and in our disappointments.  This is the background I came from and the example I had.

So when my son was little and when his friends were around, if it got loud I got louder.  I seldom managed to get control in.  I decided, “I am just better with older kids and teens,” and left it at that.

Then one day Carol Kingsley did a special seminar for the children in my area.  I had heard about Carol and her successes with children, so I thought, “I really want my son to attend this lecture.” He was six years old.

I had time on my hands and so I stayed to listen to the lecture myself in case I could learn something, and learn something I did.  As the children became more loud and animated Carol became more calm and quiet until she was almost whispering.  Immediately the children quieted down and I could see that it became easier for her to maintain order.  To be honest, when watching it I couldn’t quite see what it was she did that actually caused them to quiet down. I just saw them become calmer and listen to her.  So when the lecture was over, I just had to find out what it was she did exactly.  I made it a point to go over to talk to her.

Carol is very approachable and was happy to spend a minute or two with me to answer my questions.  She obviously cared.  I explained the trouble I had in this area and how I had seen her gain control so easily and asked her how she did that.  She asked me, “What did you observe?” I told her exactly what I wrote above.  Then she answered, “That is how I did it.”  I was confused; I still didn’t recognize it.  So she patiently explained to me that the louder and wilder children get, the calmer and quieter you become.  If you are talking low they stop what they are doing to listen more carefully, they are interested because they are curious as to what you are saying.  So they calm and quiet down to listen.  If you then use good communication that is full of affinity, care and love with no doubt that your requests will be complied with, they will follow through. If you are willing to handle any objections- again with good communication, acknowledging their communications and objections to you, then all will go exactly the way you intend it to go.

The idea that I could get compliance without yelling was a little unreal to me.  Honestly I was still convinced it was just a “Carol” thing; like she had some hidden technology or magic that I did not have.  But I promised I would try it, so I did.  Now I have to tell you, how a person gets something to work when one is so convinced it won’t is a mystery to me, but work it did.  The next time my son and his friends were “out of control”, I came into the room and calmly talked very low.  Immediately they stopped their very wild playing to listen to me.  I handed them something else to do and gave them all a snack.  Order was regained and the children had more fun in their play.  I was shocked!  Surely it was a fluke.  I tried it again and again and each time it worked.

Now do I always remember to use that?  Well, I’m sure my daughter will be the first to tell you I am still very “Italian” in my approach to parenting, but then I will remember to use it eventually. Professionally I always use it with great success.

Since that time I have become much more educated in the exact technology Carol uses to handle children and adults.  I have found that there are no hidden secrets or magic really.  She just had access to a very workable technology. You too have access to this technology if you just ask.  For more information about this or for help with your family situations do contact Mace-Kingsley Family Center at 727-442-3922 or [email protected].

Wishing you miracles,

Diane DiGregorio Norgard

Mace-Kingsley Family Center


Today I want to write about something a lot of us struggle with.  I bet you are thinking that after all the articles I’ve written, this is going to be something about observing things and looking into things — you know what this article is going to be about.  Well… yes, that is definitely part of knowing, but there is something much more when it comes to control and discipline regarding knowing.

When you know something, there is no doubt, no decision, no worry. If you know something is white and other people are telling you it is black or even that it’s gray, but you know without a doubt that this thing is white, then anyone could say anything, but you just know it.  You don’t worry about your sanity or if you are wrong or maybe you should say it’s black to make people happy.  You can simply acknowledge what the person is saying and then remain steady and firm in your knowledge.  You don’t waiver.

Now I am going to give you a graphic example of this:

One day I went for a guitar lesson.  When the lesson was over, my teacher had to leave before me.  His wife, a friend of mine was home working.  She is an artist that works at home sculpting the most incredibly beautiful fairies.  As I was packing up my guitar I started talking to her. She was busy, and while she didn’t want to hurt my feelings, she was in need of getting back to work.  But she didn’t ask me to leave; she recognized I was in need of some affinity and communication at that moment.  So she talked to me for a little bit. After a short while, she stood up and started walking.  Of course I walked beside her; she acted as if my walking toward the door was totally and completely my idea.  She wasn’t brushing me off or distracted from our conversation in any way.  She was totally there with me.  Then she said, “Oh I’ll help you,” picked up my guitar as we walked to my car.  I got in, said goodbye and felt great.  And it wasn’t until I was almost five miles down the road that I realized what had happened and how well she had controlled the situation.

That was the best graphic example of being totally calm and knowing, therefore using control.  She was in complete affinity with me and talking with the same reality as me when we communicated.  There was no force, because there was no doubt that I would walk to my car and drive home happy.

So how does this translate to control and discipline?  Well, if you tell your child to go to bed now, and in your own mind you have complete knowing that they are in bed on time – you see it as if it happened already, then if they counter-intend that command by ignoring you or doing something different, you wouldn’t have to get annoyed or angry or anything — if you know they are in bed on time.  Despite their railing you would continue to communicate to them with affinity as you walked them to bed and put them in. Your confidence and certainty would just be greater than any of their confusions or upsets.

I know that until you try it, that you will think this is an impossible thing to apply when your child is defying you about getting to bed, or getting off of the computer or putting that object down in the store, or accepting the fact that they are not going driving with their friends. The first thing that has to happen is to remember to use it; to know that you can know and do know, and then not to drop into anger at the first defiance.  I mean think about it – how many times have you told your child to go to bed, they say no, you get firm, they say no louder, you get angry, they dig their heals in and get angry back etc, etc, etc but in the end they end up in bed?  They do.  All that drama and finally in the end, they go.

Now what if you, rather than getting upset (and knowing that they are going), just talk to them? As you are talking, walking, maybe helping a little bit, intend for them to be in bed. Calmly and with affinity they follow and then the next thing you know, they are in bed.

I know you are saying in your head, “Oh My Word!  She has totally lost it! Sometimes I’ve seen her get upset with her daughter.” Yeah, I admit it; I have to practice this as well.  Like I said, it starts with knowing it and remembering to use it.  When I have, it worked every time.  At work I automatically just use it, at home I have to sometimes get over myself and remember to use it.  And maybe with you it will be the same. But just try it, practice it and then yes, observe for yourself whether or not it works for you.

For access to the exact information and drills to achieve the results you intend call Mace-Kingsley Family Center at 727-442-3922.