Posted by: Staff | 01.13.2009

“Beaver Believes” I: By Sheyda Bautista-Saeyan


The Power of Play

I’m a workaholic. Every day, when I get home from school, I immediately sit at my desk, take out my binders, pull out a pencil, and begin my work. I only get up when my mother yells at me, “Dinner’s ready!” I hear her voice but I stay put, bent over my desk, pencil in hand. I think work is good for one’s mind, but I believe that making time to play is essential.

About a year ago I took part in the fall play, Macbeth. Staying at school for up to ten hours on some days was torture. I would get home at around ten o’clock each night, then I would have to start my homework. Can you imagine what time I was up to every night? For two weeks before the play opened I was a walking zombie. Like a caterpillar trying to climb Mt. Washington, the simple tasks in my daily routine required an extra amount of effort. I couldn’t wake up in the mornings; I couldn’t produce the answers to simple addition problems; I even began snoozing in class. I was working past my capacity and I couldn’t continue. I needed to do something. I needed to give my brain a respite. I needed to make time to play.

My mom told me we’d been invited for dinner at my aunt’s house the weekend before opening night. Is she crazy? I thought. There was no possible way I could take time off from my overload of work, not even for an hour. But there was no way of getting out of this family dinner, so I was forced to leave my desk.

As the doors to my aunt’s house opened, I was greeted by my relatives. I dragged myself inside the doors knowing that I should be at home, sitting at my desk writing notes after notes. My heart became tender when I saw my five-year-old cousin, Keonoosh, smile at me. My tense shoulders began to drop and soon my stress began to fade away. Keonoosh tugged at my shirt asking me to play; I couldn’t refuse. First, we raced to the swing set in his backyard. As I placed Keon on a swing and performed a remarkable underdog I heard him yell, “Higher, higher!” A smile stretched across my face. I couldn’t wipe it off, why would I want to anyway? The crunchy leaves lying on the ground no longer resembled the papers stacked high on my desk at home; those papers had completely slipped my mind.

“Tag, you’re it!” Keon exclaimed, poking my arm then turning around to jet off in the opposite direction. As I chased after him, my eyes widened with joy and my heart rapidly beat with exuberance. For the next hour or two, Keon and I did nothing but play. We played until we couldn’t move our legs any more. Taking a couple of hours out of my busy, hectic life just to play completely changed me and my attitude towards life. I believe in the power of play. Even though I still insist on working often, I always pencil in some play time to ease my frenzied, chaotic life. I will always remember smile the Keon gave me as I walked through his front door. It’s something I’ll never forget. I can always rely on this vivid imagery to remind me all the power play really has.

If you would like to submit your own “This I Believe” piece, please contact Willy Tucker, Ali Cooper, or Michael Firer.



  1. “Staying at school for up to ten hours on some days was torture.”

    But if it could save tens of thousands of lives, would it be justified?

    …sorry, just watched 24. Great post. 🙂

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