Put On Yo’ Play Clothes

I grew up in a small town during the, “kids go outside and play after school” era. The era when it was safe to allow children to go outside without a cell phone, body camera or tracking device. The era when children weren’t given two hours of homework to complete per night in the first grade. It was a great time for children. Kids could be well, kids.

As children, when we would get home from school, we would get a snack, sit at the dining room table and finish our homework. After that, we could go outside and play. But before we did my mother would always say, “Take off your school clothes and put on yo’ play clothes”. Our play clothes were generally our school clothes from the year before, comfortable jeans and t-shirts. Clothes that we didn’t mind getting dirty or maybe snagging a hole or two in. We took off our rigid, formal attire and changed into something relaxing. Transitioning from work to play.

As an adult I try to keep this in mind spiritually. I teach at several facilities in Hawaii. Most of which deal with behavioral health. Honestly working in psychiatric units has been synonymous with working in public schools. Some of the students are tethered souls that could use a break, kindness and some were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nevertheless, I love my job and I love my students.

About six year ago,I found myself carrying the burden of worry about my students home with me. And not only that, but those adult behaviors that just drive me up the wall. Like the one teacher who just tries her best to be “all up in yo’ business” or the teacher that complains and gossips about every single thing that crosses her path.

Stress is the Bain of my existence and I had to figure out a way to release this energy. A way to be able to let work stay at work and not feel guilty about symbolically letting go of my students’ hands. And that way is to “put on my play clothes”.

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

When I got home from work and if it was a real bad day, in the car on the way home from work I would just pray: “Lord cleanse me, clean my spirit. My eyes have seen things I didn’t want to see. My ears have heard things that I didn’t want to hear. Refresh me Lord.” I would take off my work clothes and put on the easy and light yoke from Christ—my play clothes.