Just Playing Around…

February 29, 2016

My youngest daughter was at the computer the other day.  I looked over and discovered that she was working her way through her programming book.  She had Chrome’s debugging tools open and was slowly piecing together a program by running commands in the Console tab.  She was learning new things and seeing something work.  She couldn’t edit her work directly.  She couldn’t even save her work, but she didn’t care… she was having fun!

My initial reaction was to start figuring out what kind of tooling to get in place for her, how I could make sure she was able to save it, etc.  It made me realize how easy it is for me to get too focused on trying to make sure I have all the pieces in place before I start learning something.  It’s easy to lose a sense of play and wonder when you approach things this way.

I think I do myself a disservice when I start right down the road toward productivity before just playing to learn.  There has been a lot of talk of JavaScript fatigue due to all of the tooling, frameworks, and supporting libraries popping up as well as the churn within each of those as they mature and grow.  Throw a child in a room full of new toys, and they’ll just start playing with something.  Throw me in a room full of new technologies, and I’ll sit there spending days or weeks figuring out where to start.

I love change and figuring out new things, but I need to learn to just pick up something new, say “Cool!” and start playing around with it without worrying about the bigger picture (or even whether my work will be saved).  Basically, I need to learn how to be a kid again, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

It’s okay to play with something but not have any use for it in my day job.  It’s okay to put something together the wrong way just to see how the pieces fit.  It’s okay to smash it and make something better!

I’ll make an effort to play more and share it here.  Will you join me in the same?

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Written by Sean TimmEver the progressive contrarian, Sean stands for you against the forces that fear change. His present passion is firmly focused on leading the charge in modernizing front-end development practices, and he wants you to join the fight. Engage with Sean on X