The other night my boys and I were playing a board game. You remember those, right? They’re the things that you can play without an internet connection and they don’t rhyme with “Linecraft?”
Anyway, we were playing a game called “Q’s Race to the Top.” I’ll explain more about this game and why you should consider buying it for your family in a moment, but first here’s a story. While we were playing there was a question in the game and it went like this, “What is the best thing your parents do for you?” The answer from my 5-year-old could have gone many different ways but his final, reasoned response was this:
“The best thing my parents do for me is be silly with me.”
Let me say that again. “The best thing my parents do for me is be silly with me.”
Every time I think of his answer I not only smile but I begin to well up. And then I feel like doing a “Rocky”-esque sprint up the nearest and tallest hill, which is difficult in a flat place like Florida, but I digress. In short, his answer, which was as pure and honest as possible, validated one of the most important things that I’ve wanted to accomplish as a parent. I want my kids to have fun. I want them to have as many positive, joyful, smile-inducing memories of their childhoods as they possibly can. I want them to be filled with a sense of not-taking-all-of-this-life-stuff-too-seriously. I want them to laugh. A lot.
There are many moments during our parenting when we have a choice as to how we respond to our kids. Sometimes we get angry. Sometimes we get emotional. Sometimes we are brutally honest. And sometimes we can choose to do a complete 180 and be silly. I don’t do it often but sometimes I like to answer them using a crazy accent or making a weird face. Or by doing a silly dance first. My goal is to show them that there are times in life when being a little wacky is not only ok but necessary. It relieves the tension and stress and can turn a challenging discussion into a more lighthearted, less edgy issue.
And to think that this moment emanated from a board game.
Any faithful reader of this blog will know that I am not in the habit of recommending products. It’s just not something that I do. However, I will tell you that this game — “Q’s Race to the Top” — is worthy of a look. Here’s what I love about it — there are three ways to move your character.
* You can either get up an do something funny — like walking across the room pretending to be a crab or holding a silly pose while other players try to break your concentration.
* Listen to a scenario that Q, a monkey who lives with a family, got himself into and figure out what the proper response would be. For instance, a new child enrolled in school and no one wants to be her friend. How should Q handle this situation?
* Answer a question about you. For instance, the question above about the best thing your parents do for you.
The game forces kids to think about themselves, others and be physically active. Those are three pretty excellent things in my parenting book.
And most importantly for me, Q has reminded me of the benefits of the silly. If it works my kids, it certainly works for me.