Patch Adams on the Power of Play and Living a Life of Joy
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Back when I was in college and trying to figure out what to do with my life, it wasn’t until I learned about Patch Adams that practicing medicine went from one of the many ideas swirling around inside my head to the passion that I would pursue for the next several years of my life.
I was taken by this idea that human connection could be so vital to healing. That play and creativity could have a role in helping to ease the mental and even physical burdens of illness. That “health” and “care” weren’t always realized in healthcare, but that they could be with just a little compassion and ingenuity.
To say that Patch was an inspiration on my journey to medicine would be an understatement.
That’s why I was thrilled that Patch was able to sit down and talk with me. During Patch’s medical training, he was disheartened by the cold, impersonal, and often arrogant manner in which he saw many doctors treating their patients. So after graduating medical school in 1971, Patch and some of his closest friends set out to change medical culture by starting the Gesundheit Institute–a small, but very busy and passionate medical clinic and home. In time, as he moved on to planning a hospital and a movement, he wrote a book entitled Gesundheit: Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society through Physician Service, Complementary Therapies, Humor, and Joy. Patch’s story was famously translated into a movie in 1998 starring the late Robin Williams.
It had been a few years since Patch and I had had a chance to connect, so we talked for some time about quite a few topics. Featured in this episode are some excerpts from our conversation, especially those covering his thoughts on the power of play and living a life of joy.
Around halfway through, Patch tells a compelling and emotional story about the magic of human connection that you won’t want to miss.
“Even in the worst of horror like a war, children in a moment can enjoy play.” – Patch Adams
Listen on your favorite podcast app, or play it in the player below.
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
- Patch’s thoughts on how “health” can be brought back to healthcare
- What kids around the world are looking for from us adults
- How as an adult you can get ourself to a place where play with your own kids and children around you is easy and natural
- How to model of “life of joy” so that you children can live joyfully, as well
- How Patch uses gratitude and living with intention to never have a bad day
- Why it might be challenging for men in particular to get down and play with kids, and what to do to remedy that
- Patch’s recommendations to his own son regarding fatherhood, now that Patch is a grandfather
- And much, much more!
Important Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Patch’s books
- The Movie: Patch Adams (1998)
- Patch’s Website: www.patchadams.org
- Patch’s Contact Information:
Patch Adams & Gesundheit Institute
P.O. Box 307
Urbana, IL 61803