KRISTINA BEERS: Family games and life lessons

During this time of year, I attempt to find many ways to fight the pressure to shop, cook, clean and decorate. Yes, it’s a “wonderful time of year,” but it’s also one where shoppers end up on the nightly news because they are fighting over … stuff. 

 So that’s what I fight: the frenzy. 

I am not a shopper (no shocker to my friends). I enjoy the Christmas season, but all in due course. I relish the family time, cozy interiors, and games. Lots and lots of games. 

Now, while each game has been played at least once, right now the game du jour is Yahtzee. Simple and quick, Yahtzee is a long family tradition all the way from my husband who learned to play Yahtzee with his grandmother when he was little. 

 He has passed down to our kids the Rules of Yahtzee according to Grandma Fenton, which has become somewhat of a family guide of life essentials:

Read the dice. They will tell you what to roll. If you are feeling the fours, you better go for the fours, even if you have two threes on the board. In life that means go for what your gut, that conscience, prayerful answer, and follow that lead. Sometimes you have to pass up that easy street and be determined to put in the hard work.

Don’t change mid-stream. If you are going for fives, be all in. I have no idea why, but changing between rolls never works out, and we’ve played enough times to be sure. For us, this is exemplified in our marriage. Temptation comes in many varied forms; we’ve learned never to let any alternatives be an option, making us stronger for it.

You can’t force a straight. Again, one of those mysteries in Yahtzee, but it’s truth. You can fight and fight for a straight, have to take a zero, and next turn, roll one right out the gate. You can’t force a square peg to fit in a round hole. Trite, but it is truth. Know what’s right, stand for a moral code, and if it’s meant to be, it will happen. 

Take a chance. Chance is your safety net. If all else fails, go for bust in your chance roll. For us, family is the safety net. Our boys, in the process of spreading their wings, might falter or stumble. That’s ok because a chance was taken and we are the safety net of love and foundation. 

I keep our used score sheets, which have doodles from our family escapades, both large and quiet, as a sort of historical documentation. Mostly it’s because I can’t bear to throw them out, but also because simple things really are the stuff of life. I would take a lifetime of Yahtzee games with my loves over a frenzy of things any day of the week.

Kristina Beers lives in the Remus area with her husband and five sons. She shares her thoughts on parenting teenagers and young adults on the first and third Saturdays of each month.