I’ve been staying at my brother’s house for the better part of the Thanksgiving holiday where I’ve been able to spend much time with his son, currently the Second Youngest PatriotNephewWest.
On several occasions, he’s led me to the basement and not because that’s where the guest room is. It’s only where his playroom is located. At times, he’s run around, climbed on things, thrown (or rolled on) balls or fixed me food from his “kitchen.” He always makes sure to include multiple desserts with the main course.
He’s also instructed me to take down some board games from shelves too high for him to reach. First, it was one of my favorite childhood games, Battleship. I didn’t think a two- (well almost three-) year-old could play that game, but well, given that he’s my nephew, I assumed his precociousness.
He had his own rules, which I could not discern, but I think they involved stacking the little plastic pins for hits (red) and misses) white as high as he could until it toppled over. Still, I played along as best I could as he kept telling me how much fun he was having.
With the Chess, Checkers and Backgammon set, we merely put all the pieces on the various squares on the board. That task completed, we returned them to the box. With the Who Wants to be a Millonaire board game, he gathered up the cards and play money (well, I think it was play money, he wouldn’t let me see it) and then handed me a stack of the cards. He was smiling all the while as I remained puzzled about what he was doing.
In the end, the rules didn’t matter. He understood the goal was having a good time.
My nephew’s right. Sometimes, the rules just don’t matter. And it’s important to know when they don’t so instead of doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you just have a good time, live in the moment, you know.
Sometimes it takes a two-year-old to remind us of that crucial life lesson.