Kevin Carroll's commitment to play
If you have never had the opportunity to listen to Kevin Carroll or to read his book, The Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, termed somewhat of an adult version of Dr. Seuss's Oh! The Places You Will Go, now is your chance to learn a little about this man who is very much an advocate of play. On his website, www.kckatalyst.com, he is listed as author, speaker, and agent for social change. In the midst of it all, he is a play advocate and very compelling.
Read The Rules of the Red Rubber Ball
Listening to him at KaBOOM!'s U-Play in Chicago, IL years ago was quite an experience. He doesn't come from a typical family, although who knows what typical is anymore? His story of how he got to where he is today and what he learned along the way would make a lot of people grateful for what they had growing up. The part where he and his brothers are waiting for their mom to come get them and having to call his grandfather to come get them from a trailer they had been left in brought tears to my eyes. As a single mother myself, I thought of my own sons and was so grateful for all we have had in our lives.
He talked of how a ball and play helped him cope as a child as he tried to make sense of life and why things were the way they were. Through all the hardships he has faced, it seems that play has remained constant in his life, and he shares that message with groups all over the world. He promotes the importance of play in everyday life, whether at the office, at home, or on the playground. Through his travels, he has collected balls from all over. In fact, many groups actually make a special ball to give to Kevin after he speaks. At U-Play in Chicago, most participants used their name tags to create a ball to thank him for his message and for the reminder that we should play always. Every piece of this collection has its own story, whether it is from the streets or playgrounds of Brazil, Kenya, or here in the United States.
...no matter how old we are, whether we are working hard on our career, raising a family, continuing education, whatever we are doing, we need to play.
People are touched by play in some form or another, and it is people like Kevin out there promoting the importance that remind us that no matter how old we are, whether we are working hard on our career, raising a family, continuing education, whatever we are doing, we need to play. It frees our mind and unlocks our creativity. I will be the first to tell you that when I am to the point where I need a nap after meeting deadlines, it really feels even better if I get out and do something physical, even if it's a walk downtown or by the river. I feel even better if I get out and play with my kids. To me, that's the good stuff, simply put.
Kevin reminds us to d.r.e.a.m. BIG! This stands for...
...the five key ingredients for achieving your dreams and goals. Play is a big part of all of this, for it lets us take a step back and refocus. It also also lets us connect with each other. Take advantage of what it has to offer for a healthy body and healthy mind as well.
Written by Shannon Amy-Stockwell