by Marjan Compagnen, &samhoud foundation
Four years ago we developed a simple board game for children to play during the Connection lesson that we teach in schools throughout the Netherlands and in Malaysia through the &samhoud foundation. It was intended to be a playful and fun way to reiterate what is being taught in the lesson – to strengthen connection with yourself, and also to make deeper positive connections with others. Because that is the basis for building a brighter future together.
I decided to bring the board game with me to the annual weekend away with some of my closest girlfriends. It was a fairly cold November month and we were staying at a farm in the eastern part of the Netherlands. After a full day of shopping, eating and hanging out in café’s, we spent all of Saturday evening playing the board game in the old kitchen, surrounded by antique tiles and furniture.
The game involved drawing, singing, miming, and answering questions about ourselves and our view of others in the group. At first the focus was on who was winning, scores were tallied on a piece of paper, but soon it became clear that the game wasn’t about that. It was about creating deeper connections, not winning.
There was lots of laughter, and also tears. One friend got the question about what she could learn from her father. Most of the children who had played the game would spend a few seconds answering this question, but my friend’s father passed away many years ago. He was much loved and still missed. The fact that she could talk about him again and how much he meant to her was very precious. That question alone took us 45 minutes. Each one of us got at least one question that touched us deeply and provided opportunities to connect with each other in new ways. Openness and vulnerability led to stronger connections between us.
The Big Connection Board Game is now available for sale (€ 29,95 plus VAT and postage and packaging), and proceeds go towards the &samhoud foundation. It is currently only available in Dutch and named ‘Het Grote Verbindingspel’. It can be a nice gift to create deeper connections with people around you! Just send an email with your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This weekend I’ll be going away with the same group of girlfriends again. I’ll be packing enough board games to give to each of them as a reminder of our special evening two years ago.