When I was a gymnastics coach, a powerful lesson was shared with me...
A common practice was for coaches to punish their students (young athletes) with conditioning.
"You were misbehaving, do 30 push ups, then you can join the class again."
The lesson being that this practice influences children to believe that exercise is bad, a punishment. What a great disservice to a young athlete...
It strikes me that there's a parallel lesson in the way we talk about 'work' and 'play'. Take for example the things we sometimes say to kids:
"Don't bother mommy, right now, she's working. When she's done, she'll play with you."
"I want to play toys with you, but I have to work, buddy."
Or just consider the way we drudgingly go about our work and joyously go about our play.
No wonder we grow up hating work and seeing play as not serious, but we've missed the truth by miles. There's nothing more important than taking joy in what we do (play) and nothing more deeply engaging and fulfilling than a job well done, and achievement made (work).
Maybe it's time we changed the way we work and the way we play, and the language we use to describe them both. Maybe we'll even confuse the two with one another...