In case it is not readily apparent by now, I am a big fan of board, card, miniature, or any other you-name-it games. I simply love the ability to sit down with others and get wrapped up into a game and game play. However, there are times where a board game is not always handy or time does not allow for a quick game of Mancala.
As a father of three, I find most of my time is in short demand. That is why it is so important to me to be able to balance my work and life so I can “do what I want to do” when I want to…or when reasonably possible. This got me thinking about all the ways I can spend my time doing something of personal importance with my wife and children. I asked myself, how best to determine the most direct route to achieve some real quality experiences with my loved ones? In short, how can I quantifying the quality time I spend to ensure maximum output of enjoyment?
“Quality” could mean so many things that its fundamental definition is lost to perspective. If that is the case, we must choose a constant that is readily measurable. To that end, I suggest we measure the joy the person we spend the quality time with puts out. That should be easy enough to gather and quantify.
Wanting to put this theory to the test, I looked for any and all opportunities. Tonight, I was provided one by my oldest son.
Liam wanted to play a board game, but we only had about 15 or so minutes before dinner time. Because of the short runway, I suggested we work on a project together and make it a game to race against the clock. The pitch was that a terrible storm was coming and we had to house a family before they were swept away by a flooded river. I dumped out a big box of Lincoln Logs and said we had less than 10 minutes to build it before the storm hit!
The look on my sons face was one of pure doubt. This activity I suggested was not a board game and he wasn’t all that pleased about it. But, he got into it once he saw his father drop to his knees and start to make a mad dash towards pieces to build a solid base for the house. Once he saw how enthusiastic I was, he quickly came around and started building with me. Very quickly we were laughing, making jokes, and saying things like, “OH, NO! I HEAR THUNDER!”, which made us work even faster.
After about 15 minutes, we had built a solid structure, complete with cannons, and were thoroughly enjoying ourselves. It wasn’t a board game but it was some outstanding fun. When I asked Liam if he was upset about not playing a game, he said, “What are you talking about? We did play a game, Dad.”
Yes, how true, I thought. We did play a game. Not a prepackaged game experience, but a game of our own making, complete with time limits, structure, and goals.
In less time it would take to setup a game, explain the rules, and play one round, Liam and I had made up our own game, played it through, and achieved victory. To me, this was better than any board game could be.
This brings us back to my initial question. How does one quantify quality time? The answer is simple.
The quantity of quality obtained by any experience is directly proportional to the width of the smile on your face and the volume of your laugh.