Recreation vs. Entertainment
© 22 Dec 2011 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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Decoupling two ideas.


The English word “‍entertainment‍” comes from the Latin inter (among or across) and tenere (hold or keep). Entertainment is that which holds the interest and attention.

The English word “‍recreation‍” is also from the Latin: re (again) and creare (make or beget). Recreation is that which renews and revitalizes us.

There seems to be a de-facto acceptance in American society that entertainment is recreation. It’s gone so far that phrases like “‍recreational drug use‍” mean the exact opposite of what the word means. Even fairly innocuous entertainment is often not recreational, being instead a holding-pattern or escapism. I have been known to spend hours in entertainment without any noticeable renewal.

The prophets have encouraged us to engage in “‍wholesome recreational activities,‍” particularly as a family. As I have mulled over the meaning of this phrase I have found it surprisingly difficult to identify what activities will recreate goodness a priori. I have also found it much easier to identify family recreation than individual recreation. Indeed, the best recreation of an individual I can imagine is also the recreation of a family.

I have no great conclusion to this pondering to share at the present time, but found the pondering itself to be worthwhile. I hope it may benefit others as well.

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