High River United Church of High River, Alberta


Doing Nothing is Doing Something

Posted by on in Adventures in Faith & Family
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Print
  • Report this post

Doing nothing is doing something! In this time of year when our schedules are filling up again, activities are starting, and school is back in full swing, it seems that there is more than enough “somethings” to fill every minute of the day.  What at first may seem fun can quickly settle into an exhausting schedule, a demanding schedule, into which we try to fit family meals & sleep!


Into this frazzled kind of time that creeps up on us, the wisdom of our Judeo-Christian scripture speaks: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven, a time to plant & a time to pluck up what is planted, a time to break down & a time to build up, a time to weep & a time to laugh, a time to seek & a time to lose; a time to keep silence & a time to speak.”                                                                                                                  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 selected verses


The wise elder who wrote Ecclesiastes reminds us that life is about balance.  We work & we rest. We work & we play.   There is the old saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!” Have you heard that one before?  We need a balance of work, rest & play in our lives. 


Work – that is anything that is structured and has a required outcome. So school is work. Many of our children’s activities are work because they are moving toward a desired outcome. Video games are work because they have a desired outcome.  Our children spend a great deal of time working.


Rest – that can be sleep and it can be sitting quietly or praying or wandering along a path, anything where there is no demand, no schedule, no required outcome, just plenty of space to be – just be. 


Play – true play is also about rest from work. True play has no structure, no required outcome, no consequences – with lots of room for creativity and imagination and working through emotions, within a safe atmosphere.  Play is not always fun.  Watching children, you can see them play out sadness or anger or frustration.  Play is not always fun, but it is always engaging. Children are often very serious about their play.  When you are in play mode, time passes and you don’t even know it.  You can come out of play feeling refreshed and rested. 


Doing nothing is doing something!  Play may appear to be doing nothing – because we are achieving nothing.  We are so success oriented in our culture that we have a hard time giving ourselves and our children time to just play.  We want our children & ourselves to be learning new skills, gaining certifications, and well, accomplishing something.  (Did you notice – adults & teens need play too!)


But doing nothing is doing something.  In true play, we try things out with no fear of failure, we work through emotions, we experiment and create.  True play is safe, expressive & engaging. True play is not for real, not outcome based, and not work.   What is being discovered in brain research is that children who have more true play have more adaptive, resilient and creative brain power.


So play – whether it is with colours in painting or dolls or playdough or drama or jumping in mud puddles or creating different shapes of cookies or experimenting with yarn or with ideas or in writing a story/poem or building with blocks. There is no limit to the forms play can take.  And it does not require specific materials.  One person I heard speak about this even suggested that we shouldn’t give children toys to play with – that toys might indeed limit true play.  Think of the box that becomes a fort or the stick that becomes a sword.


In play, achieving nothing is achieving something, but it requires nothing more than creating space.  And yes, we might hear, “but I’m bored!”  Yet, don’t rush in – keep creating the space, and then you’ll be amazed at the play that will happen.


As we move into this new season, I invite you to think about how you play as an adult and how you create space & time for play for yourself and your children.  Doing nothing is doing something!

September 14, 2017                             ©Susan Lukey 2017

Last modified on



Marking Orange Shirt Day - September 30th
Created On Thursday, 29 September 2022
We pause. We remember. We commit to Truth and Reconciliation. On September 30, people all across...
High River - Let's Support Those Devastated by Hurricane Fiona
Created On Thursday, 29 September 2022
In High River, we know what it is like to have our town devastated by natural disaster. We know...
Join Us This Sunday for a Homecoming Service - Outdoors
Created On Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Sunday, October 2, 2022 at 10:00 am! This is a chance to join together after over two years of...
Want to Play Ukulele!
Created On Thursday, 22 September 2022
Then join the Highwood Strummers! Our first session will be on September 27th and we will meet...



123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168


Contact Us Page

Sign In or Register
Not Registered Yet?

If you have no website account, click the SIGNUP link below and then confirm your account through email.

Reset My password - Remind Me My username

Remember me