As an owner of 2 seasonal businesses I do not get a lot of time off, so family time to me is pretty important and I take it where I can get it. I even look at house cleaning as a family time opportunity; and based on the faces of my 2 girls when it is time to clean they enjoy it even more than I……
In a recent round of “family time” cleaning I was organizing another family time opportunity being our gaming system. As I was organizing the wildly strewn about system I realized that I have sunk a few thousand dollars into this system between the console, games, equipment, and replacement equipment it requires for me and my family to “enjoy” it. I started thinking about the quality of that family time vs. the cost of the equipment and then compared the gaming system to, of course, our pond; and I feel I came to some pretty interesting observations.
Typical quality of family time with the gaming console yields about an hour or so of my daughters, and me, becoming transfixed on a screen. We don’t really interact or even so much acknowledge each other when the game system is going. It usually takes several attempts to get their attention when the game system is on and even then they do not actually look at me and seem more annoyed that they are being disturbed from their game. Typical game time results in someone losing and feeling bad, or even winning and not being a “good” winner. My conclusion of the gaming system is that it is not really “time together” at all, it is very short lived moment, we don’t really talk to each other, someone’s feelings get hurt, and it is expensive with constant re-investment.
Then comes the pond. A backyard pond is really not all that more expensive than having a gaming system, possibly less expensive. When my family is by the pond we talk to each other, we interact with each other; we enjoy the outdoors, fresh air, and sunlight. The only “fighting” that happens is between the pond fish scrambling over each other to get more food. We all are more relaxed by the pond, it is not a competition, and there is not winner or loser amongst us; the pond is an equalizer with something for everyone. We always find something to learn and laugh about. A pond never has the same show twice and it is dynamic, changing with the seasons around us so it never gets boring or predictable. In my heart I know that my daughters’ eyes are gazing upon something of beauty which I created for them and which they helped personalize. Our pond has become a family gathering place where we take family pictures, we have parties by the pond, we share it with our friends and neighbors, ponds appeal to all ages, and the pond is even a place for my wife and I to discuss matters of the heart or resolve differences. None of this can be achieved with a gaming system.
As finances become tighter for many of us, one has to really think about how they spend their money and time with their family. When I compare dollar for dollar which is the better investment for my family, there is simply no doubt that our pond is the clear and obvious winner without compare. And hey, if you want to compete; try skipping stones on the pond, or try to see who can identify the most forms of life that are around your pond, this is fun and keeps the brain pumping!
The quality time, family time, personal time, and enjoyment that comes from our pond; not only for my family but pretty much everyone who sees it cannot be had with a gaming system. Make an investment in yourself and your family that really yields an “ROI”, put down the game system and put in a pond, they are worth every penny!

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