Bernard L. De Koven

On Having Fun

Following a Playful Path

Even firefighters benefit from following a more playful path.

Posted Jan 13, 2016

Anthony Easton, used with permission
Source: Anthony Easton, used with permission

I was listing all the callings that could benefit from following a playful path: the playful teacher, the playful architect, the playful gardener, the playful therapist. And then I thought of firefighters, and then of the police and military, and then of doctors and dentists. And I wasn’t so sure I wanted them to be following the Playful Path.

Playful firefighters?

On the other hand, I had spent a week with firefighters exploring the Playful Path, and we reached genuine heights of playfulness. We played the silliest games. And the favorite?J'Accuse. And the favorite part of J'Accuse? Playing dead. 

Having to face death so frequently, and knowing it so intimately, getting to play dead was just plain fun. It was a relief. A release. And the silliness of the game was embraced, and so were we - by each other, by the laughter, by the deep sharing.

Because, I guess, there’s so much more to firefighting than holding down a high-pressure hose. There’s living together and working together and the profound fear of risking, there's the grief of loss and the even more profound joy of winning together.

And it made me think about the nature of the Playful Path, how it winds in and out of our days, holding us together when it can, comforting us when we need it to, keeping us not always playful, but ultimately sane.

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