I have been playing cards for over 50 years now. My Dad taught me to play cribbage at an early age to learn to count. In fact, my Kindergarten teacher told my parents, “Bryan is a very bright boy, we just need him to remember 1-2-3-4-5 instead of Ace-2-3-4-5.” True story.
Later on in life, I learned a great four-person, two team card game called Whist. My Dad liked it because it was a “quiet” game of strategy and concentration. Over the years, there was one memorable phrase my Dad used if anyone at the table ever complained about the cards they were dealt. “Learn to play with those and we’ll get you some better ones.” While it was never fun to be on the receiving end of the suggestion, looking back, it now has a much deeper meaning.
Needless to say, I have used the phrase numerous times with my children. I have also shared the wisdom with many people who feel they have been dealt a bad hand. Perhaps the biggest lesson from Whist with my Dad was that regardless of the score, he was joyful. He never let the cards impact his attitude. Interestingly, if he was dealt a difficult hand he seemed to embrace it even more.
One other powerful lesson I learned early on from my Dad was when he said, “son, watch the table, don’t stare at your hand.” In other words, I would be a much better player if I carefully watched all of the plays on the board instead of simply staring at the hand I had been dealt. I would know more about the other players’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as figure out ways to help our team. Ultimately, I needed to take my focus off of me and put it on others.
The bottom line… so many life lessons from a simple family card game.
So what are some key takeaways?
- Help your teammate whenever possible
- Pay attention to others. Focusing solely on your own hand will limit your success
- Never complain about the hand you have been dealt – embrace it and be joyful
- Remember to always be thankful you have the opportunity to play
Thanks, Dad! I miss you!