Let the children play
Before we can get children to participate in competitive sports, a spirit of play must first be nurtured.
Sports, after all, are at heart games where the objective is to perform well individually or collectively against opponents.
And yet getting children to play games outside of those that are fueled by digital technology and electricity is getting harder to do in this age. The lure of computer games is strong and if its use is not managed properly by parents and guardians, then there will be lesser chances of children actually participating in active sports.
To encourage Filipino children and families to return to our play roots, popular performer and songwriter Gary Valenciano has put together a unique album entitled “Awit at Laro.”
Teaming up with Bambi Mañosa of the Tukod Foundation, Shining Light Foundation and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef), Valenciano has brought together some of the most talented names in Filipino music to come up with new versions of traditional Filipino songs and some new compositions to rekindle the spirit of play.
The album has a book compliment and has songs that can be downloaded through an ABS-CBN website. Among the artists are Lea Salonga, Ryan Cayabyab, Lara Maigue, Bamboo, Ogie Alcasid and Jim Paredes.
In his introduction to the book, Valenciano points out that “Children’s smiles and the sound of laughter are the most beautiful things to see and hear when a child is at play. Friendships start in the playground, court, street, sidewalk, schoolyard, backyard, house, park and field. And games that children play create the memories, stories and relationships that last a lifetime.”
These poignant childhood moments are already being threatened by congested cities and the demands of modern-day infrastructure. There is a need to constantly provide spaces for play and eventually sports so that children can utilize play in character formation and building.
We cannot develop the Filipino sports champions of the future and a people with a sports culture unless we first allow children to play the joyful games of patintero, tumbang preso, taguan and others.
Children will never run faster or jump higher when they play sports later in life if they never learned the simplest of games. They will also never discover the other good values of sport like character and fair play unless they participate in more games as children.