Four Things A Child Might Do During Recess

[Prahlada Maharaja]“Prahlada Maharaja, who was truly the supreme learned person, then addressed his class friends in very sweet language. Smiling, he began to teach them about the uselessness of the materialistic way of life. Being very kind to them, he instructed them as follows.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.55)

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अथ ताञ् श्लक्ष्णया वाचा
प्रत्याहूय महा-बुधः
उवाच विद्वांस् तन्-निष्ठां
कृपया प्रहसन्न् इव

atha tāñ ślakṣṇayā vācā
pratyāhūya mahā-budhaḥ
uvāca vidvāṁs tan-niṣṭhāṁ
kṛpayā prahasann iva

The school is publicly funded, after all. This means that there is competition for the limited amount of dollars arriving from the outside. Each group has their particular interest. The teachers would like higher salaries. The athletic director wants more resources allocated for the popular sports. The principal would love some renovation to be done to the building.

One area which might be sacrificed is recess. Is that specific period during the day necessary? Do the children derive any significant benefit? The other side says that the break is vital for good health. Children have more energy than the adults, and so they need a way to release it. Sitting in a classroom all day is not ideal for them.

1. Swing on the monkey bars

Go from one end to the other using only the strength of your arms. You don’t necessarily have to do a pull up, which requires enough strength to lift the entire weight of your body. Simply travel from one end to the other, alternating which hand is used to keep the body off the ground. Some children get across rather quickly, while others can’t hold themselves up for even a second.

2. Eat lunch

The recess period coincides with lunch. One option during this time is to simply sit and eat. Relax. Enjoy what the parents have packed for the day. If the items in the bag are not to their liking, trade with other students. Maybe have some fun and play “pass-around,” stealing another child’s lunch and not letting them touch it.

“While passing through the forest, one boy stole another boy’s lunch package and passed it to a third. And when the boy whose lunch package was stolen came to know of it, he tried to take it back. But one threw it to another boy. This sportive playing went on amongst the boys as childhood pastimes.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 12)

[Krishna lunch with friends]A similar pastime is described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam . The fun takes place in the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. The participants and victims are His friends. They live in the farm community of Gokula, and the food packed by the mothers is of the highest quality. They enjoy lunch during the day of tending to the calves on the beautiful fields.

3. Run on the fields

Just as Krishna and His friends did during childhood, recess is a great opportunity to run from here to there. The children don’t have to come up with a game, either. A ball is not a strict requirement. Simply go from place to place. Run in circles. Race each other to a specific destination. This activity can be so much fun that the children have to be called multiple times to return to class once the recess time expires, in the same way that mother Yashoda would call Krishna to return home at the end of the day.

4. Speak on the glories of Bhagavan

Another story documented in Shrimad Bhagavatam, we see a five-year old child use the opportunity of the recess period to speak on the glories of the Supreme Lord. He is fully equipped to do so after having heard from Narada Muni, the saint who travels the three worlds and sings the name of Narayana, which describes God in His feature as the origin of people.

You would be surprised to know that the other children made a receptive audience. They did not discount Prahlada’s words offhand as childish or unnecessary. They did not run off here and there, thinking that the time would be better spent in play.

The model is suited for people of every age group. The adult working hard at the office will likely get a brief period of rest during the day. In many countries this is mandated by law. The lunch break can be a great opportunity to hear of the same glories, which are disseminated in many forms, such as books, recorded lectures, and songs.

[Prahlada Maharaja]The benefit is the same: progress towards enlightenment. The teacher simply forwards what they have heard. If children of Daityas, which is a race known to be atheistic and against the principles of dharma, can prove to be receptive and attentive, then even the person today struggling in the ocean of nescience has a chance to revive their dormant consciousness of God.

In Closing:

A chance now to revive,

In bhakti to come alive.


Just as Prahlada teaching,

Friends during recess reaching.


So the ears now can hear,

Doubts over existence to clear.


The most of this birth making,

Opportunity for real yoga taking.

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