Kids as philosophers, or finding meaning in skeeball

My kids are obsessed, I admit it. There’s a mini-golf place down the street from us and within it they have an arcade with skee-ball. My kids love the place – even the baby proudly says “but but!” (putt-putt, their name for the mini-golf place) – and especially skee-ball. Not a weekend goes by without us somehow either taking them or having our babysitter take them to play a few games.

Skee Ball

You’ve seen these, I bet: a Skee-Ball alley.


We were bamboozled into going this afternoon on the way home from doing our holiday photo at the studio (amazingly, it’s not early January, when we usually do our portraits!) and while watching them all have a great time playing the games I realized that in their own way, my children are deep into the philosophy of life when they’re so caught up…


These machines feed back tickets to the kids after each game, tickets that are a reflection of how well they played. A really good skeeball game can produce 10-15 tickets, while one where you keep missing the good scores might yield a paltry 3-4 tickets, or even less.
But here’s the thing: the kids are interested in amassing tickets. They’re not particularly interested in trading in the tickets for the cheap plastic trinkets that the mini-golf place has, and I frankly can’t blame them, but it’s the tickets themselves that they find so fun and compelling.
In their kid way, without even realizing it, I think that they really get it, they really understand that life is about the journey we’re on, not the destination.
Indeed, isn’t that just a basic life philosophy we can all focus on more? it’s not about your kids graduating, not about that new car, not about a bigger house. It’s about enjoying every day, living every moment, constantly making decisions that help you get the most tickets you can, not for the sake of collecting the tickets, per se, but because the process of earning the tickets is what it’s really all about.
So my prescription: play a bit more skeeball, and worry a bit less about your Big Career and Life Goals. After all, if there’s one thing we all need more of, it’s a chance to have fun with our kids!

2 comments on “Kids as philosophers, or finding meaning in skeeball

  1. Do you remember playing skee-ball? We used to play it at Santa Monica pier among other places. It was my favorite arcade game! Used to waste lots of money on it.

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