Quality Over Quantity
Christmas 2011 I remember the whole family sitting around my uncles house, few people actually speaking to each other. When you have 40 people including a large group of children you would expect some noise but Christmas was almost entirely silent. So, what was the point in having a Christmas dinner together if no one actually cared who was in the room or what was going on?
So What Was Going On?
My one cousin who is a year younger than I am was using her new E-reader and trying to download some books. My two aunts were secretly texting one of my cousins from under the dining table where their phones couldn’t be seen. They were sending texts that were really messing with my cousin and she was constantly texting back trying to figure out who it was. Had she only looked across the table instead of at here phone she would have seen my aunts desperately trying to hold in their laughter.
The kids? They were all playing their new games on their DS’s and their Ipod’s. The pool table which in previous years had always had a line up of people around it wanting to play and kids wanting to learn. This year it sat empty and abandoned in the scarcely furnished space.
Quality Family Time – A Thing of the Past?
It was in those moments that Christmas day that I realized that family no longer created family. Ours quite obviously wasn’t the only family online, instead of spending time with one another and catching up or no one would have had anyone to speak through their SMS or online games.
So is quality family time really gone for good? I don’ think so. Yes the board game isle is far more sparse (and sometimes non existant depending on the store) but there is no reason why we can’t grab a deck of cards, play a board game or a game of dice if we put forth the effort to shut off our gadgets for a few hours each week and dedicate time to our family, our children and spouses. What can be more rewarding than your youngest playing banker or your daughter following the clue’s to find out who the murderer really is!?
We can play word games like scrabble, math games like yahtzee and even games that use our bodies like Twister. Our deck of cards can be used for a long drawn out game of war or it can be used for a game of Rummy, Crazy 8’s or even solitaire. Yes, Solitaire, you know that thing you likely did as a kid when you had no friends around and didn’t have 600 channels to choose from at any given time!
So yes, quality can and does still exist if we take the time. I recently was saddened when there was a rather nasty thunderstorm rolling through and like my brother and I used to do my kids and I decided that we should play a board game while we waited it out. After looking for games we were able to find most of a Monopoly Junior game. This saddened me because when I grew up the question wasn’t “what do we have to play?” it was “which game do you want to play first?”
So by Ipod light and lightening flashes we played Monopoly Junior and we had fun. The three of us down on the floor in the living room rolling the dice and using flashlights or the flashlight app to read our dice and see what color of house we had landed on!
After a few hours the lights finally game back on and everyone retreated to their electronics once more and I sat their cleaning up the game pieces myself in silent hope that the power would go out again soon so that we could have that quality time forced upon us once more.
Quantity really doesn’t matter if no one is enjoying themselves or everyone wants to escape to their own pleasures. This is why QUALITY is so darned important nowadays. The storms may only roll through every so often but when they do we have a blast and as hockey season starts I will be pulling out my collectors edition of NHL Monopoly and playing with it because after all, it has no value sitting in my cupboard untouched. The value is in the hands and hearts of those that move their pieces.
I would love to bring back a Family Game Night into our home but I genuinely see a fight over it instead of enjoyment. Perhaps scheduling a day each week or month will be a good way to go about it because then everyone’s schedule is clear, their games and phones are put away and we can once again bond with our kids the way we did as kids ourselves, creating memories that last a lifetime.
How do you spend quality time with your family? Do you set this time aside or do you try and put it into daily life? What are your favorite games and fondest memories of game nights when you were a kid?