Family Time

While others will be rushing the stores to return gift items that either didn’t run in their size or they didn’t exactly enjoy, my wife and I will be heading out to spend more time with our family. One of the things I enjoy is the fact that we can have fun without having to break the bank- as I believe we will be playing a mixture of card games and board games to entertain us.

We’ve spent hours playing penny poker (which often turns into quarter poker), charades, Farkle, or any other number of conventional board games. It brings out competitive juices, memories from the past and lots of fun and laughter. My children get to participate on an equal basis which I think pulls them closer to us and to my in-laws.

My parents always wanted me to learn many of the same interests they had at an early age. This probably explains why I’ve become such a voracious reader through the years. My mother had no problem explaining to the local librarian that in my pre-teen years I was ready to handle some of the older mysteries from adult authors- she didn’t worry that I would have a sinister mind, that I truly enjoyed the art of the detective story and wanted to study the craft from the best of the best.

Bowling would be a sport that as an individual I could play right when I was able to throw the ball down the lane. Our local center didn’t have bumpers in the gutters, so shooting low scores would be something I’d have to handle from an early age, or else learn how to keep the ball on the pine from foul line to pin deck. While the age to start in the bantam leagues originally was 8, I yearned to start my league experience at 6 and my parents petitioned the local bowling association to let me join early. This probably helped me as far as my social development, as bowling would bring about relationships with people from all over the town who I may or may not have the chance to hang out with in my regular classes.

When I hit my teenage years naturally my inclination to spend time with friends over family became clearer. My wife helped me understand within my own family that I couldn’t become a hermit the rest of my life, so she would push the issue to establish relationships with my daughters. Either through their own interests in music and hobbies, or with the basic building blocks of board and card games. I enjoy playing Sorry, Connect Four, gin rummy, Jenga, or any number of special board games that make our children use their intellect and imagination to play.

So create family time at least once a week. Make some special snacks or prizes for the winners of each game. Emphasize effort over necessarily mastery. It’s taken us a long time to break our youngest child for instance out of wanting to cheat or gain advantages to attempt to win over naturally learning the basics of a game. She’s slowly developed the understanding that others are willing to play if you are willing to play games without ulterior motives.

And now I must get ready to head over to my in-laws. I think we have some Family Feud on the horizon.


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