Play is serious business!

In April, I got to see Kevin Carroll speak at the Inspire 2012 conference. He told his entire life story and it was so inspiring! Kevin Carroll is an author, speaker, and agent for social change.

During his speech, Kevin talked about play and how it brings everyone together. He talked about an event that happened to him as a young boy. (Now I might not remember the story quite right.) His mother moved around a lot. After being pulled out of school once again in another city, Kevin found himself in a giant play field, but there was not a kid in sight playing. He found a big red rubber ball, like a dodge ball in the field. He was so upset with his mother and how his life was going that he started kicking the ball around and screaming things to get things off his chest. Suddenly, kids started appearing out of nowhere. “Hey, kid! Do you want to play ball with us?” he was asked. The kids played ball all afternoon and once they were finally tired out, Kevin was asked if he wanted to come back to play tomorrow. Kevin was so struck by this, that play had brought them together. No one judged him, no one asked where he came from. He was just one of the kids or one of the team.

Kevin later wrote books about the Red Rubber Ball, which are encouraging for adults and young adults to find their “red rubber ball” and the rules for achieving it.

Kevin’s story was so inspiring to me because of my history and the goals I’ve set for myself over the next number of years. I had also just finished reading Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From and Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken and am thinking play or games is going to be the way of the future for us. Games can be used to accomplish so much and really focus us on working on the problems we are facing and society is facing as a whole.

Thanks Kevin Carroll for a story I will remember forever! It will inspire me for many years to come.

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