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Friday, October 14, 2011

Gen Y Mahjongg

There is a joke going around the internet:  The generation born before 1946 was the Silent Generation; between 1946 and 1959, the Baby Boomers. Generation X are those born between 1960 and 1979 and Generation Y between 1980 and 2009.  Why are they called Generation Y?

Allow me to dispel this myth.  I had occasion this past week to play mahjongg with some incredible gen Y kids.  These young people, struggling to live and work in the fractured mess we call our economy, were able to put all that aside for a family game night with mom and her visiting friend.  It was a joy to see and take part in.  

I wonder if my aunt, who taught me when I was nine, envisioned that I would play 50 years later with people who would not be born until she had passed away.  Our family mahjongg games are some of the brightest memories of my childhood, with my aunt, uncle and cousin goofing around and learning the lessons of the game; patience, planning, dealing with the unexpected - timeless values which served me throughout my life.  

I urge my readers to teach their children and grandchildren mahjongg.  We all know how much fun it is, how it helps your brain, but our mothers and grandmothers knew it pulls you through tough times and provides hours of entertainment for minimal cost.  The League has been around for 74 years - through recessions, depressions, wars and the rest; generations Alpha through Omega.

A good way to begin is to bring your set to the next family dinner.  You can do it surreptitiously - leave it in the trunk of your car or bring it in and say, "Oh, I thought I brought you new silverware...."  When the dishes are cleared simply announce, "We're all going to play mahjongg tonight.  I've already seen that movie (show, etc.)"  Come on, grandma, you can do it.  

Is your MBA son-in-law serving fries?  Teach him mahjongg.  Is your daughter spending her days in Zucotti Park calling for the execution of Alan Greenspan?  Teach her mahjongg.  Does your grandson barely acknowledge your existence because he's lost in his iPad?  Tell him that you want him to learn so he can be the first to develop an app that lets players play over Skype.  Yes!

Of course you must let them win.  Even though you may have eight jokers and your tile is thrown six times, do not declare mahjongg.  Allow them to experience the pleasure of making a hand.  They'll be hooked, you wait and see.  They may even come to tournaments with you.  And though it may take 30 years before they truly come to know the meaning of the game, you will have planted the seed, as I was inculcated and indoctrinated as a child, only to blossom into a maven later in life.    

So remember the immortal words of our Boomer friends Crosby, Stills and Nash - Teach your children well - the one they pick's the one you'll know by.

1 comment:

  1. This holiday season all four of us received the NMJL card. Two of us are elementary school kids. I have been hooked since the late 90's. Three years ago I taught my parents to play, and they have joined a regular community center group. Now I take up the task of teaching my wife and kids. I could be in trouble; they know where I live.