Tuesday Tales: How well do you really know them? – Donna Thistlethwaite

How well do you know the people in your life? Who are they really, and what makes them tick? Or even secretly ticked off?

Recently a friend gifted me a game called Listen Up and I totally love it.

My soon-to-be 12-year-old son, Matthew, and I played the other day and at the end, I said “I want to play this with Dad … with your cousin … with your friends …” I basically want to play it with everyone because not only is it fun, it gives you a wonderful insight into those you play with.

The game’s tag line “The game that turns strangers into family” triggered the thought that many of us don’t even truly know our families, especially the ones that we inherit when we partner up. I said to Matthew “I’d love to play this with grandma because even though I’ve known her 16 years, I don’t think I really know her. He replied, “yeah, I know what you’re saying”. I wonder if I can convince the family to play at our next Thursday night dinner?

Listen Up is a board game in which you meander around the colourful board, taking cards that correspond to the different coloured spaces. A green square will require you to answer the question on the card, a blue will instruct you to ask the question of someone else while drawing a purple Mystery card involves reading the card to the group and completing an activity.

Examples of the questions are:

  • What brings you joy?
  • How often do you feel happy?
  • What was a situation you handled poorly in the past and how would you handle it in the future?
  • What do you think people should be more aware of?
  • Do you feel like a leader or follower?
  • What is a goal that you’re currently working on?

Matt pulled a card which asked about his vision for the future. It was heart warming for me to hear him say “I see me going to Hillbrook High School and having lots of friends there”. I got a sense that he’s feeling positive about his transition to high school next year.

The game was created by the Kindness Collective on the Sunshine Coast, a group founded in 2016 with a mission to connect the local community through free health and wellbeing events and to address mental health issues associated with loneliness and social isolation. Listen Up allows us to share our stories and build connections with our family and friends which definitely enriches our lives and lessens the likelihood of experiencing mental health challenges.

Next time you’re looking for a present for someone, or for something to do with family or friends, go no further than Listen Up. I have no doubt that it’ll be my go-to gift this year.

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Donna Thistlethwaite is a Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Resilience at Work Facilitator with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE. You can find out about her next Mental Health First Aid courses here.

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