One of my friends has recently been through a very tough time. I’ll spare the details, but most people think that the things that she has been through only happens in TV shows and movies. I really wanted to do something special for my friend and her son, but she told me that she had enough homemade frozen meals for months, and she shared how many flowers she had already received. Through social media she posted a sign-up for folks to help her do things around the house. One of the sign-ups was “Family game night”. I immediately signed up for the first slot I could and mentioned that I would bring some games from my collection.
Fast forward a couple weeks and it was time for family game night! I loaded up a few games appropriate for those involved, and made my way to my friend’s house. I showed them all the games I brought (about 8 of them) and gave a brief description of each. They decided they wanted to try Small World because my description of “Like Risk, but better, and takes less time”. We unpacked the game and I explained the rules. It took a few rounds for them to get the hang of it, and for me to remember everything, it had been a while since I played. While playing, we had great conversation, none of it surrounding their troubles, and I could tell they were having a good time. They picked up on the game pretty quickly, and made some great moves I wouldn’t even have expected. In the end I ended up winning, by one point, but no one was upset that I didn’t let them win, even though it was their first time playing the game.
As I was packing up my friend took a picture of the game and said they enjoyed it so much that they were going to purchase it for their collection. And as we were saying our goodbyes my friend thanked me for coming over, teaching them something new and providing a good distraction because their struggles had once again made the evening news.
Although my heart is breaking for my friend, I’m happy that her and her son could find distraction and enjoyment through the chaos by learning a new game. I believe there is healing power in learning, and it is only amplified when coupled with a game.