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Energized at Play
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"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord" (1 Corinthians 12:4, 5).

I’m playing with my class of college students, taking a gamble that the particular video clip I’m showing them of Carreras, Domingo, and Pavarotti in concert in Rome will help make my point about the importance of play in student-centered learning.

I point out some of the signals the singers are using that are part of cooperative play. “The audience wants another encore, and the tenors are going to try something they’ve never done before,” I explain. “First, they plan what they’re going to do. Now watch them cue each other in.”

We get caught up in the electricity of the moment, as if we are in the audience at Terme di Caracalla, thrilling with collective joy in the creative spontaneity of the music. Then it’s over, and I as teacher don’t know quite what to do next. Will I overkill my point with more words?

But in order to understand how important play is to children’s learning, my students need to see how important it is to their development as teachers. So I hazard one final comment.

Just for Fun

“Like these tenors, some of your greatest teaching happens when you play, trying out new ideas just for fun! I’m experimenting on you, too!”

We laugh, and my students get up to go. Did they get the idea? I don’t know. I’m still trying to grasp it myself! But at this moment, I feel the miracle of teaching for me. Though I have put heart and soul into this class, I’m walking out of my classroom with more energy than I walked in with. It’s a God-given exhilaration that comes at special moments when I’m doing my best at teaching! I enjoy many other activities—but I get this unique surge of vitality only from teaching.

Eric Liddell, winner of Olympic gold in 1924 and dramatized in the movie Chariots of Fire, said it this way, “I believe God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run I feel His pleasure.” You can almost see God’s pleasure beaming down on his joyful face, his head thrown back, blond hair streaming behind him, as he flies down the track. What a God, who loves us this way!

What is it that you do when you feel most keenly the touch of God and are energized ? What is your gift?

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By Cheryl Woolsey DesJarlais. Excerpted from Fit Forever, compiled by Kay Kuzma, copyright © 2005 by Review & Herald Publishing. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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