The one virtue that I would love to see ADF add to the list is play. Play turns even the hardest task into something that can be both enjoyable as well as feed the soul. Almost every type of animal plays. They use play as a way to learn skills that will serve them as adults. Play can influence how we see our world in profound ways. I am reminded of the story of Tom Sawyer, who for punishment, was set the task of painting a fence. Tom sees a friend walking toward him and decides how best to handle the ribbing he expects this friend to give. Tom decides to play a part. He plays the whole activity up so as to make the fence painting look like the most important and fun task in the world. The friend from whom Tom expected a good tease then pays Tom to take over the task. By the end of the day Tom almost bankrupts all the neighborhood boys and the fence gets painted several times over. At first glance Tom is taking advantage of his friends, but in reality the boys in question would most likely have admitted that the day was well spent because the task was both satisfying and fun for them. The way they viewed the task at hand changed it from work to fun. Play changes our perception of the world. When we play with our ritual, and spiritual practice, we can use its framework to change ourselves in much deeper ways. Perseverance, moderation take on a new meaning when see them as acts of playfulness; they become less daunting if nothing else. Play could be seen as a subset of wisdom, but I feel it belongs beside it, for play can influence and help in the gathering of wisdom. The more fun we make a task, the more we want to do it, and that is definitely a path to a virtuous life.
Amanda Thomas is the Grove Organizer for the Ad Astra Grove. She also serves on the Topeka Interfaith Council.