Forum speaker emphasizes the importance of intentional recreation

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Patti Freeman,  chair of the Department of Recreation Management and Youth Leadership, knows from personal experience how important quality family time can be. In her forum address, she emphasized the importance of wholesome recreational activities for individuals of all ages, especially children and families.

While growing up, Freeman was always involved in outdoor activities that provided quality family time and was thankful for the time  away from every day life.

“I treasure time at my parents’ cabin and the haven of peace and beauty it is,” Freeman said. “Some of my most cherished memories, however, was time spent quietly sitting next to my dad while we sat in the duck blind or hunted deer.”

[media-credit name=”Whitnie Larson” align=”alignright” width=”300″]Patti Freeman, department chair of  Recreation Management and Youth Leadership, speaks at a BYU forum.[/media-credit]
Patti Freeman, department chair of Recreation Management and Youth Leadership, speaks at a BYU forum.
It was through these experiences growing up that Freeman learned what she wanted her family to be like someday and what was really important to her. Now, after adopting four boys from Ghana, the Freemans are constantly emphasizing the importance of quality family time.

“As I think about what matters most to me, it is relationships to others: my family, spouse, children, parents, siblings, my Father in Heaven, my friends and even myself and my well-being,” Freeman said. “I want to focus on the importance of intentionally creating a protecting space and time for personal and family recreation that can strengthen relationships with those who matter most to us.”

Freeman went on to suggest two reasons to make recreation an intentional action: recreation has power for good and play and recreation matter.

Dr. John Tanner, former academic Vice President at BYU, emphasized these two points, “… At it’s best, recreation allows us to re-create ourselves in order to return to ordinary life renewed, refreshed and reinvigorated. The highest function of play is re-creation….”

Even though most of the examples in her speech came from the viewpoint of a mother raising children, Freeman expressed the desire for everyone in the audience to be able to apply these points to their lives. To do so, Freeman emphasized three main points that show the importance of recreational activity in everyone’s life: (1) play is essential to healthy physical and emotional development, (2) play and recreation engender persistence and (3) play and recreation can help shape how women and mothers are viewed by the world.

To Freeman, one of the most important aspects of recreation is to change the world’s perception of women and the role they play in the world.

“It isn’t just having doors opened, being escorted by the arm down the sidewalk or ordering first at a restaurant,” Freeman said. “It is about respecting and seeing others’ potential as well as viewing a woman as a capable partner who can solve problems, persevere, excel and meet challenges.”

She goes on to emphasize the importance of making family fun a priority free of media and technological distractions as well as simplifying life and discovering the power in brief rejuvenating moments.

“A simpler, less hectic, less material-based life will not leave us feeling less happy or fulfilled,” Freeman said.  “As we simplify, there will be more time and more money for things that matter most.”

Freeman concluded by reiterating the importance of recreation and the role it can play in our personal happiness and the happiness of those we love.

“It is my hope we will have a goal to intentionally use recreation time such that we enhance those relationships and aspects that matter most in our lives,” Freeman said.

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