This summer, I spent hot afternoons and long weekends rejoicing with my family in the unexpected value we joyfully placed in money. We worked ferociously towards creating more wealth than the other did. I didn’t fret about taking others down as I attempted to buy up as much real estate as possible. I held nothing back as I practiced and modeled cut-throat negotiations to purchase and barter the right property, so I could put up as many hotels and houses as possible. I am very, very competitive when it comes to playing Monopoly.
You see, I was lucky in that I foresaw my children were not going to like watching cooking shows with me forever on Friday nights. I knew the stage of sitting on the swing and rolling hula hoops to see whose would roll the furthest would be a short-lived phase. One thing I did hope would last was their love for board games. So far it has. Unfortunately, my oldest is slowly moving on from wanting to play as often with us–her friends are becoming the priority now. My youngest, though, is still not only grateful but excited when we claim a spot in the living room and pull out Monopoly for a week-long real estate battle. I value time with my children however and whenever I can get it. We scowl and then laugh at how competitive I am playing games, but then again, so is she. We both rarely take a Monopoly deal the other suggests yet remain in good spirits. We talk, and we laugh. We spend time together.
What people value in life –what they declare important- always evolves. It tells so much about where we are with our wants and needs. I learned the hard way how fast things can be taken from us. I was taught how adversity can sneak up and steal things away regardless of our age and place in life. I learned how quickly one’s current value system can crumble and be built back up into something completely different.
Time flies by. The dollars building in our bank accounts or being held in our wallets, clothes with the designer labels, fancy houses in the perfect zip code, and the impressive cars we drive probably will not matter someday. It is the people you impact that will carry your spirit beyond this fleeting moment. Little things which offer selfless joy and teach the gift of giving will add up to make your big impact on the world.
As for me, I maintain the greatest value is time I get to spend with my family. I prefer a game of spades, rummy, or Monopoly where I can try to bankrupt my family. Then –after they bankrupt me- we will laugh together. I am grateful for the hard life lessons I was taught. I think I have learned these lessons quite well and put them into practice in my own life. My children will have fleeting hobbies and desires. It is up to me to invest time and efforts in getting involved with these evolving experiences. It is up to me to reach out my hand and grab on to their fast spinning lives. For now, my values are right where I want them to be. I have my value locked on hope and happiness paving my way into our promising future…Even if that pavement does include me brutally taking possession of Boardwalk and Park Place.