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This week, Son #2 and I took some time from our busy schedule (mostly video games) to take in a few hours on the course…the mini golf course. In the dark.

Mini golf 2 (635x800)

Together, we compiled a list of “life lessons” drawn from our experiences, that we would like to share:

  1. Collaboration. The expression “two heads are better than one” applies to solving any problem – from a flat tire, a screaming smoke detector, or getting a tiny orange ball in the hole, around rocks and stone salamanders.
  2. Perspective. Is the glass half empty or half full? Is it better to skirt the purple rock or risk the narrow channel down the middle? We all look at the world filtered through our own experiences and preferences, and different angles can lead to the same conclusion, or open up new possibilities.
  3. Acceptance. There are often more ways than one to approach a problem, and one is not necessarily better than another. It’s important to respect different perspectives. It might just lead to a hole-in-one!
  4. Encourage. Celebrate triumphs. Empathize with mistakes.
  5. Watch. Listen. Learn. From each other. Watch how others do things. Be willing to take instruction or instruct gently, although, mostly when necessary (and certainly when requested). Learn from your mistakes. They will help you approach the next hole with more patience and grace.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

6. Engage. In Healthy Competition. Healthy competition means pushing yourself and pushing others, to do their best. It does not mean obliterating their soul beside Hole #12, just because they kept bouncing off the concrete wall, and you aced it first try.

7. Control. Don’t let the scorecard dictate your behaviour. You can choose to be a cheerful winner or a gracious loser…or a such a grouchy loser that no one will want to play with you again. Ever. Not because you’re that good…but because you’re that bad!

8. Stay. On the course. When you whack the ball so hard you end up “under water” or you get “lost in the dark”, the game drags on. You won’t achieve your goals. You might even trip and get hurt on the way back. Or run over that little kid with the green glowing arm bracelet and the loud voice. (which did not happen, by the way – it’s an analogy).

9. Relax. There will always be someone who is bigger, brighter or better at scoring under par. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have something to contribute. It doesn’t mean that you suck. It just means it’s someone else’s turn to shine. Let themMini golf 3 (800x366)

10. Laugh and Play. Life is hard. No one can deny it. Whether you are facing a monstrous whale of a problem, or just a glow-in-the-dark one, remember to take time to laugh and play, and enjoy the journey. Every obstacle shapes who you will become, and how you will impact others. Laugh at yourself. Laugh with others. Be silly.

If you keep playing the game, you will eventually reach Hole #18. Make sure you reach it with your dignity intact, your friendship strengthened, and your smile spreading from ear to ear.

Then, go out for ice cream.