Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The Word With Real Magic In It

When I was a boy the word "please" was said to be the magic word, and I suppose it was when we were performing for adults in order to get something we wanted, but "let's" is the word with real magic in it. "Let's" is, of course, really two words that we speak as one, meaning "let us." It's not a command nor a question, but rather an invitation and in the mouths of children it's most often used as an invitation to play.

"Let's play trains."

"Let's be princesses."

"Let's pretend we're pirates and I fall off the boat into the water and you have to rescue me." Without the word "let's" cooperative dramatic play would hardly be possible.

It's not so common in our 2's class, but by the time the children are 4 and 5 you hear it a lot as they play together, often at the beginning of every sentence.

And that would be enough, if this magic word could do only this, but it's a real magic word. You can use it for almost anything you need to do with the other people.

"Let's take turns."

"Let's make a rule."

"Let's try using a rock to open it."

Of course, there's always a dark side to every kind of magic, a way to misuse it.

"Let's take all the balls."

"Let's keep the girls out."

"Let's pretend we're pirates who push everybody else into the water."

But even so, even when we use it to experiment with the misuse of our collective power, there's no denying it's a magic word, one that brings us together, that creates room for other people, that makes our play better and our lives bigger. "Let's" is always an invitation, one that contains all of the open-ended possibilities of human beings together.

I don't worry about children who've learned the power of "Let's . . ."


"I recommend this book to everyone concerned with children and the future of humanity." ~Peter Gray, Ph.D. If you want to see what Dr. Gray is talking about you can find Teacher Tom's First Book and Teacher Tom's Second Book right here

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