“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” ~ Richard Bach
“Let’s play a game”
Generally in my house, that phrase holds within in a realm of possibilities. With three kids and a husband who all have a slightly vicious competitive streak, playing games can be a fun family past time or a declaration of war.
If I am playing with my husband, it is on the XBox. I will be honest-I suck at video games. I was never a true “gamer” nor did I ever attempt to be, but my husband loves his Call of Duty games and so, I will try to oblige him by playing with him. It usually ends with me almost throwing the controller while yelling “I don’t give a damn. It’s just a GAME!!!” while he fusses at me for not trying hard enough. I mean, jeez…I grew up on Nintendo and Atari. All these new fangled buttons on the XBox controller gets me flustered.
With my kids, I play on the Wii. We play MarioKart or bowling and yes, I still suck at these games, too. I will play a few rounds of MarioKart but after that, I am gamed out. My hand eye coordination is just not there. The girls aren’t so interested in playing video games, but if I ask them to play with me, they will. Or if they want to play and ask me to join, I will.
Now, board and card games are a completely different story for me. I will play some board and games and I will kick your booty. At least, I will try my damnedest. Monoploy? I will bankrupt you with hotels. Uno? I will make you lose a turn or draw cards. Checkers? King me! I love the old school games where you have to actually speak with each other to play the game. Pushing a few buttons on a controller is far less satisfying to me than knowing I will collect $2500 from you in rent because you landed on Park Place and I have hotels all over that bitch and that will bankrupt you and I will win. (Maybe that is where they get that competitive streak!)
Participation in their lives is important. Showing my husband that yes, I will at least try to play a game with him tells him I care about what he does. Showing my kids that yes, you can beat me at a game and the world will not end helps them see that playing for fun is acceptable and not everything has to be about who wins. And letting my kids in on the fun that I had growing up playing board and card games is so fulfilling. I feel as though I am teaching them secret skills that their friends might not ever learn given the current youth obsession with everything digital and/or electronic.
Quality time with family is important. Taking time out of your day or week to really spend time with your family is paramount to building and maintaining those strong bonds. A family dinner, followed by a family game. Or movie. Or outing. But doing things together…THAT is what is important. THAT is what my kids will remember.
“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” ~Michael J. Fox