Have you ever tried to have an escape room experience? I had the privilege about a year ago when I visited an Escape room in the company of my young adults and not only was it fun, but it also taught me the importance of teamwork, especially as a family. It made me realise that family bonding harnesses individual talents to arrive at solutions. Everyone has something to offer.  No one has all the answers and sometimes the most ridiculous suggestion may just be the solution to the challenge.

So, what exactly is an escape room? It is a game – a fallout from the famous 2019 movie titled “The Escape Room”. This game involves a group of persons – family and or friends locked into an enclosure and given a time frame to escape from the environment. There will be obstacles and challenges strewn along the way that can only be overcome by combined effort. Sometimes, you may not actually complete the task within the time frame allotted but you would have given it your best shot.

A recent chat with my friend Romoke prompted my recall of today’s topic. This is her story.

Romoke is a widowed mother of two children in Secondary (High) School. She has just completed the construction of her residential building to accommodate herself and the children. After congratulating her, I asked if there were notable challenges she experienced while building and she responded:  “Haa…Havilah, there were challenges of supervision, pilferage, and shortage of funds but there is one I will never forget, hmm, it is good to have good children o”. She continued –“It was a Friday afternoon and I had miscalculated my funding requirements for the week. I would not have access to funds until the next Tuesday and my workmen were threatening to leave the site if they were not paid on or before the next day – Saturday. I was at my wit’s end as to what to do. I was owing everyone I could borrow from and if the workers left the site, getting them back to work would cause delays and hardship to access the next tranche of mortgage borrowing. All my pleas to the workers fell on deaf ears and I returned home totally deflated. Mope, the older of my children observed my mood and prodded me as to the reason. I opened up to her and she asked, me “Mum, how much do you need?” Upon my response that N30,000.00 would solve the problem she said I should stop worrying. She then walked over to her brother’s room and called for his piggy bank. Together, they broke their piggy banks and, you better believe it, they came up with N35,000.00 in change. My dear, N200 and N100 notes never felt so good. They saved the day! Incredibly, these children understood the problem to be a collective one and teamed up to provide the solution.”

A number of things struck me from Romoke’s story:

  1. She had open communication with the children regardless of their ages. They knew about the project and were carried along.
  2. She had taught the children the essence of saving for the” Rainy day” and they recognised the situation for what it was – a rainy day. They correctly evaluated the situation and provided a solution timeously.
  3. The children understood the project as a collective one and saw the challenges as one that required collective input and participation in solving.

So, why did her story remind me of the Escape Room experience? These were my takeaways from that experience:

Anything that challenges one member of the family should be viewed as a collective challenge to which other members can proffer solutions. It enhances the bond.

Solutions should be offered in a timely manner in order to be effective. There are situations in which “Better late than never” is no good.

Empathy is a necessary emotion to be cultivated.

Everyone has unique talents and attributes which can be brought to the table to ensure solutions.

In summary, bonding experiences offer an opportunity to foster unity and understanding within a family. It enables you to observe the strengths, weaknesses, talents, etc. of the individual members and better coordinate them for the collective good. A bonding experience can range from the very simple like playing cards or other games to family vacations. There is always something to do together. Please do not undermine it!




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