To the untrained adult eye, joyful silliness is unimportant. To a child, it is a normal and healthy part of their emotional, social and physical development.
Most of the children we meet have experienced things no child ever should. Like Adnan, who fled his home because of the conflict in Syria. Adnan is six and is rebuilding his life in Turkey. He and his family live in one room on the outskirts of Istanbul.
We are delivering playful workshops for him and other Syrian children like him. Given children’s natural impulse to play, they are noisy and energetic events. We spend the week focusing on gently encouraging each and every child to freely express themselves. The aim is to create as much joyful silliness as possible.
To the untrained adult eye, joyful silliness is unimportant. To a child, it’s a normal and healthy part of their emotional, social and physical development. For children living through difficult circumstances, joyful silliness is more important that ever. It’s a chance to be free from the burden of responsibility, doubt, fear or pain.
Our Partners in Turkey often join in with the fun and embrace their inner clowns. Aside from adding even more laughter to the workshops, it sends a powerful message to the children. It’s a way to let them know, those adults respect their need and right to play.
By supporting children in play – and encouraging adults to do the same – we can create “human-kind” systems for children. Systems that are characterised by warmth and inclusion that place value on love, compassion and kindness. Words like “love” and “kindness” might seem unusual in the complexities of a humanitarian setting. When we embrace them, it is possible to change the way we connect and engage with children. It let’s children like Adnan know, “we see you and we care about what happens to you.”