It was one of those days today. You know the sort. The days when you’re entertaining your girlfriend, niece and nephew at work.
We were responsible for the well-being of children today – well, Carole more than me as I was working – but we started the day off way too early by letting the kids have a run at the Murder-Mystery room at work.
And, huzzah, they enjoyed it.
One of them was far more vocal about it than the other, mind. But when one of the two is a moody teenager dragged from his bed before noon and having to put his phone down for an hour, just an almost smile and a “yeah, it was alright…” is the best you’re going to get.
Although we have made it abundantly clear that he can pretend to be as cool about it as he likes and pretend he wasn’t bothered, but we saw him getting into it and actually enjoying it as he played. I mean, if you’re not into it, you’re not going to tackle a puzzle from start to finish all by yourself are you? No. Exactly.
We wanted to do it for another reason as well. Sometimes we feel that our lovely niece is overlooked by other members of the family. That it has been decided, somewhere along the line, that she can’t do things – or won’t be able to do things. Often with little or no evidence to support that claim. But she can. She most definitely can. She just has to be given a chance. And lo, she can do things.
One of my most favourite times, ever, was a New Year’s Eve family gathering when I spent hours teaching her how to drive on Mario Kart. It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, in all honesty. And I’m not just saying that because it meant I didn’t have to socialise with everyone else.
So we wanted her to play the room, and to solve some stuff for herself. We wanted her to open the padlocks. We wanted her to explore and do things and be amazing. And she was. Although we’re convinced she enjoyed tidying up and putting the room back together even more than playing it!
I genuinely love that aspect of my job – the confidence building, not the tidying up. I don’t want to come across as schmaltzy or whatever, but sometimes there is nothing more rewarding that watching a person, or group of people, who think they’re rubbish – for whatever reason – go into an escape room and absolutely bloody smash it. I adore it.
I love it when kids know the answers but their parents won’t listen to them, because I tend to find that is the most perfect time to send a clue through that makes mention of someone in the room being right. I like them to get rewarded with a well done or a thank you. It’s a little thing and it’s stupid and soppy and ridiculous. But it’s also amazing for that person.
I mean, it doesn’t just apply to kids. You can totally do the same thing with adults. And I do. And I still love it.
There’s a lot of stuff that goes on inside an escape room that you don’t really consider when you’re playing it. Sure, you’re puzzling and working your brains, you’re communicating and all that jazz. But you’re also, if you’re really lucky, building the confidence in a person.
So that the next time they play a room – or do anything – they won’t need a helping hand from someone behind the scenes to get their voice heard.