GOOD

Best of 2013: 5 Ways Kids Inspired Us Through Play

Students, schools, and communities get stronger when we all reconnect with the spirit of play.


I have long been a believer in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid. But this year I noticed an interesting trend: the power of kids playing to bring out the best in all of us. This year more than any I can recall, has had a number of notable moments when a playful and inspiring message from, by or about kids, has gone viral. Here are five of the most notable:

1. Buddy Benches: Second-grader Christian Bucks worried about his classmates standing alone on the sidelines at recess. So he brought the buddy bench to his school. If a student is feeling lonely, they can sit on the bench, and another student will know to come ask them to play. "We show we care about others when we ask others to play," Christian said. "I also hope that new friendships will be made because of the buddy bench." Christian's story has been shared thousands of times inspiring buddy benches in other schools across the country.


2. Kid President: Robby is a nine year old living thriving in Tennessee with a brittle bone disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Along with his brother-in-law, Robby has been making inspiring videos on YouTube as Kid President. And Kid President has sparked many others to dance more, smile more and “do something awesome” for others. Robby shows us the power of a playful attitude. If you haven't yet watch or if you’re in need of more inspiration, please enjoy Kid President's Pep Talk.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-gQLqv9f4o

3. Becoming Bat Kid: Five-year-old Miles has battled leukemia for most of his life. Currently in remission, Miles had one request of the Make-A-Wish Foundation: to be Batman. And his wish was granted. Deemed Bat Kid, Miles had his wish granted when over 12,000 volunteers help him battle evil villains by turned the streets of San Francisco into Gotham City for a day. Bat Kid is a hero. He inspired a city to bring out their best.

4. GoldieBlox: This ad by GoldieBlox featuring three little girls who love STEM went viral for its feminist playful leanings, but I love it because it embodies the Brian Sutton Smith quote: "The opposite of play is not work. It's depression."
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIGyVa5Xftw

5. Recess Is For Everyone: And finally, Reggie, a student with cerebral palsy at King Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, could be found sitting in his wheelchair on the sideline every day at recess watching his peers play. That is, until Reggie's fourth and fifth grade classmates teamed up to make recess more fun for everyone. Now, every day three or four students sit with Reggie at lunch and then play with him on the playground, often modifying games so Reggie can play. "Anyone on the playground could see how much fun Reggie was having. The patience and care his classmates showed him was visible. Reggie felt like he was part of recess now, not just an outsider looking in." Recess truly became for everyone.

These five examples are more than a source of inspiration, they're also a reminder that students, schools, and communities get stronger when we all reconnect with the spirit of play. Here's to ensuring more of these kinds of connection happen in the new year.

Hopscotch on the playground image via Shutterstock

Articles
via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

Keep Reading
Culture

The Free the Nipple movement is trying to remove the stigma on women's breasts by making it culturally acceptable and legal for women to go topless in public. But it turns out, Free the Nipple might be fighting on the wrong front and should be focusing on freeing the nipple in a place you'd never expect. Your own home.

A woman in Utah is facing criminal charges for not wearing a shirt in her house, with prosecutors arguing that women's chests are culturally considered lewd.

Keep Reading

In August, the Recording Academy hired their first female CEO, Deborah Dugan. Ten days before the Grammys, Dugan was placed on administrative leave for misconduct allegations after a female employee said Dugan was "abusive" and created a "toxic and intolerable" work environment. However, Dugan says she was actually removed from her position for complaining to human resources about sexual harassment, pay disparities, and conflicts of interest in the award show's nomination process.

Just five days before the Grammys, Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and her claims are many. Dugan says she was paid less than former CEO Neil Portnow. In 2018, Portnow received criticism for saying women need to "step up" when only two female acts won Grammys. Portnow decided to not renew his contract shortly after. Dugan says she was also asked to hire Portnow as a consultant for $750,000 a year, which she refused to do.

Keep Reading