Saskia Ishii RN commented to me on the last blog entry – her comment was so inspiring that I asked her to be our first guest blogger. Here are her thoughts on the necessity of "recess".

"When my 3 children were very young, after picking them up from elementary school, we would come home, have a snack, and talk about their day.

I’d always ask the same question: "So, how was school today?" Their answers would always be the same: "we didn’t have enough recess." It admittedly irritated me that we were paying handsomely for their private tuition, in triplicate, and that the measuring stick of whether the day was a good one or not such a good one was based on the amount of play time they had.

Then one day I remember thinking to myself, "These kids are absolutely brilliant!" I mean, who doesn’t need and want "recess" in their lives on a daily basis no matter how old we are? We may not be kicking a ball around or hanging upside down from a jungle gym, but whatever it is that distracts us from being responsible and allows us to be carefree, and get off "the grid," is mandatory for our mental and physical well being.

The trick, then, is to figure out what constitutes recess in your life and once you figure it out, do it every day. It might just be a great cup of coffee and conversation with someone you love; or cuddling with your pet; or cutting flowers from your garden. Things that restore your soul and make life on the planet festive, fun, and a reminder that although we might be responsible with a never-ending to-do list; we once were neotenous and full of play.

(Neotonous means "childlike." There was a poll many many years ago a Parent’s Magazine asking "How Neotenous Are You?" So I took the test and found out that I still had a lot of my fun/festive nature from when I was a child. They were saying how important it is to keep the child alive inside of you, etc, etc, etc.)

Of course there’s the other pole of extreme vacations where we’re being physically active and attempting daredevil things; but they’re not on a daily basis.

So make a list and put 10 things on it that make you smile and give you joy. At the end of each day, check your list and make sure you’ve done at least 3 of them and enjoy!"

(Photo by Candace Spring 1991)