Last week, my other half bravely took on three 62+ year old Chinese women, in the age old game of mahjong.
Writing out the numbers beforehand so he’d be able to recognise them, he sat patiently at the table amidst the steady prattle of Cantonese chatter.
Hours later, amongst the laughter and exclamations, constant praise (in Cantonese) for the “white devil” could be heard:
“His pronunciation is so good! Better than yours!”
“He really knows how to play!”
There ensued a marathon week of mahjong playing at any moment they could spare, the three sisters ready for a round at any time.
What is it about games that bring a family together? Whether it’s mahjong, monopoly, risk, scrabble, cards, or even charades, you’re bound to have laughs aplenty – at each other, or at yourself. Often ganging up on one another, siding with siblings you don’t usually agree with, getting to cheekily tease your mother at her terrible pronunciation, or berate your father for his obvious attempts to cheat, game playing with your family allows you to engage with each other in ways you usually wouldn’t.
It’s one of the few times when conversation and language barriers aren’t an issue. Banter revolves around the game play action – not around whether you should be producing grandkids (although that particular topic does have an uncanny ability to pop up in the most random situations).
No wonder the likes of the Wii, Playstation and X-Box, are having such roaring success with multiplayer games centred around having wholesome fun.
Whatever you do this year, make a little time for fun and games with your family. You won’t regret it.