Topic 2023

Playing with passion – gaining confidence

Norman and Fränze are both invited to Gabriela and István’s for an evening of games. Gabriela played with such passion that she jumped up and down when winnig and covered a bedazzled István’s face with kisses. When she lost she grabbed a plastic tulip and smacked it right over his head. The moment Fränze lost Gabriela handed her the flower and asked her to do it to me too. She spared me the smacking and kissing when she won,… she neither provided me the pleasure of fading pain nor the pleasure of thriving tenderness. We kept calm… composed.


Giving way to passion and emotion

Playing provides for space and opportunity to live your emotions and getting to know yourself from different perspectives and perceptions. Be it happiness, enthusiasm, lust as well as fury, envy, feeling in power – all this is also part of me and not only someone else’s problem. When playing a game that doesn’t suppress emotions you can explore your own self. Your strengths as well as your dark sides. Sociologist Thomas Henricks stated that the participants of a game get an extraordinary opportunity to enter or leave the playing field as they like it. Or they can behave in a way we usually label as spontaneous. „A game enhances your feelings of freedom for people to perform specific actions.“ Playing enables us to be ourselves in an expansive and inspirational sort of way.

Everyday life often denounces passions and emotions as inadequate. Keeping it matter-of-fact and behaving yourself wins you appreciation. Kids are allowed to express passion and feelings but they are expected to learn how to behave. 
Knocking down tables, slamming doors and leaving shouting out loud or sometimes being boisterous are only accepted within a certain limit. Sadly the emotional hinterland of such outbursts only rarely get true recoginition and are belittled: It’s only a game.
This makes children adapt to an attitude that emotions are not really appreciated and they try to suppress theirs and to keep self-control. Many people only realise how this oppresses aspects of being humane and damages their body and soul during their second half of their lives. 

Children as well as adults play so they don’t interfere with the magic circle. On the one hand they express their unfiltered creativity within a set of common rules and feel awarded by doing so but likewise they play in ordet to find out what they can do with the world they live in. This means they want to be surprised or flashed by the consequences they caused. They consider the changes they made and are even going to question the people’s patience they provoked. This experiencing the world by playing is the area of experience they dive into. Here the self and confidence are shaped and strengthened. This way we gain self-esteem.


Gaining confidence

Usually, confidence and assertiveness are mixed up. People are considered as confident when they perceive themselves as being able to reach their ends against conflicting interests of others. But self-confidence means self awareness – knowing my strenghts and limits, emotions and potential. Sometimes personal perception is blurred by an idealistic and positive idea of what you are (I am number one and I am always right…). Sometimes they are too negative (I am nothing, I’m useless…). These images are framing how to consider things and awareness about what strengths and weaknesses people really have.

Those who are aware of this needn’t blame others for anything negative in order to keep up a positiv image of their own self. This also enables you to accept strengths and weaknesses of others. Transferred to a more abstract level it affects our social interaction in general. If you perceive yourself as a part of a diverse system you accept other people’s presence there as well.


Social and political dimensions

This can lead you to that sort of society where it’s not about implementing your political agenda at any price but to develop a complex understandig of other people’s actions. Imagine a society that fosters an open public discourse to understand how much of the “other“ can also be found within your own mind.


Questions for topics to discuss at our Spielmarkt:

  • How do passions and emotions affect children’s development and how can playing support them?
  • How can playing enhance your self-awareness and help to achieve social and emotional competence.
  • What competence, attitude and functions do educators need in this context?
  • How can playing help people to live together in society? 

6. Oktober 22


Topic text as PDF: Playing with passion – gaining confidence