However, work isn’t about being fun. In fact, I believe that the harder one works, the less the word fun even matters to the conversation… because work becomes thus transformed into that which is meaningful.
Once a person is vested they tend to find more value in the triumphs – and more disappointment in the shortcomings. But the momentum of really dedicating oneself to achieving something builds an aspiration to see the effort work out well. And the more blood, sweat and tears one puts in, the less willing one becomes to give up and the more likely one becomes to keep plodding on through times of turmoil.
Play leads to fun. Fun leads to a sense of reward. A sense of reward leads to a desire for a deeper sense of reward. A deeper sense of reward is more often found through determined effort. (i.e. When we “work” for things we appreciate having attained them much more than when things are merely given to us.) Determined effort is often characterized by discipline, focus, tenacity, and learning from our mistakes. Remove “fun” and “play” from the equation and we may never get to the deeper levels of determined effort. Remove an aspiration for determined effort from the occasion and the quest for fun becomes vapid, superficial and tiring.
Kids enjoy having a good time. But they love being challenged in a personally meaningful way. We forget this at our own educational peril.
Fun: a jumping off point to help work transform into that which is meaningful.
(Side note: It’s interesting that so many teachers instinctively know this and so many administrators consciously disregard this in our modern classrooms when seeking out curriculum tools to help better educate our kids. Bubble tests? We’ll buy those til the cow comes home. Manipulatives for math? YA titles for ELA educators? Sorry, we don’t have funds for that.)