By Amy Kucharski, Waco, Texas
It began as it often does; a tickle in the back of my throat. “No thanks,” I managed to croak out. “I’m not really into playing games.” It felt strange saying it. After all, I’d grown up playing games with my family, over at friends’ houses, in the car on road trips, any place, really. My high school boyfriend loved playing games. He enjoyed nothing better than inviting over the guys from youth group and having game night. Of course, I played along!
But here I was, twenty-something, and facts being facts, I had developed an aversion to playing games. At first I was afraid people would shun me for my condition. Then I found myself hanging out with people who also did not enjoy playing games. It became part of our identity. We would sit in the other room with the tv droning on and glory in the fact that we had “gotten out of” the uproar happening in the other room. But you know, it always sounded fun. Almost too fun!
One year, someone in the family got a new board game for Christmas, and everyone was expected to try it out. I listened, begrudgingly, to the rules and tried to hide my condition so as not to spoil everyone else’s time. Well wouldn’t you know it, I had a blast! At least there was one fun game invented, I decided. But as for most of them, just the sight of them stacked up on a table made me break out in hives.
Over the years I occasionally got roped into playing a game, usually at Christmas. I always had a lot more fun than I anticipated, making that dreaded trudge to the game table. And then, I had babies. It was hard to make time for game playing, even at Christmas, with a newborn. But alas, kids grow up. Grandma sends them an alphabet puzzle. They see games advertised on television. They ask for them.
And one day, realizing my kids were seeing an awful lot of advertisements (read: seeing an awful lot of tv) I mused with Joe about how we could better connect as a family. What could we do as an activity that would reverse tv’s dumbing down of our children’s minds? How could we get to know our children better? Spark meaningful, “organic” conversations with them? Show them the importance of understanding and following rules in life? Teach them not to be sore losers and sore winners but to “high five” another’s accomplishments? Spark their intellect? Introduce new concepts in an accessible, fun way?
And now we are building our own collection of family games. Do you have a favorite family game or a funny or interesting gaming experience? Have you struggled to overcome the same condition I had? Please consider writing a guest post on Growing Up People! See the submissions page for details.