TEED OFF
By Robert Bicknell
 

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March 19, 2006

Families that play together…

In last week’s Sunday Viet Nam News, I noticed many good articles with similar themes and wondered why we cannot do the same here in Viet Nam.

For example, Country music singer Dolly Parton created "Imagination Library" which delivered one free book per month to poor children who might not have the opportunity to read books otherwise. Experts claim that reading to your children helps them to learn faster and be more prepared when beginning school.

Even better, it provides the opportunity to enjoy some "quality time" (a phrase I’ve always hated) with your children. I hate that phrase because every moment you spend with your children should be "quality time" and not considered an "infringement" on your own needs. I cannot imagine life without my daughter.

Reading to your children will probably lower your blood pressure as well.

Another article involved singing lullabies to your children because they respond easily to music and there is evidence that exposing young children to music develops their intellect and musical talents.

My daughter, who is now 16 months old, sings all the time. Of course, only she knows the meaning of the song , but it doesn’t stop her from spreading her arms like Whitney Houston and hitting notes that set off all the dogs in the neighbourhood.

Ok, that’s all well and good, but what does this have to do with golf?"

Plenty.

I’ve often mentioned that husbands should make the effort to play golf more often with their wives because, no matter how old you get, you’ll still have something in common and enjoy doing together.

I remember reading a story a few weeks ago regarding "Narita Divorces" where recently retired Japanese husbands took long holidays with their wives and ended up divorced upon return primarily because the wives, who had to cope with the husband being gone all those years while he worked, couldn’t handle having him around so much after he retired. People grow apart unless they have a firm foundation of common interests.

If they played golf together, they’d have something in common to enjoy when he stopped working. Imagine taking a six-month cruise / golf holiday with your wife when you retire. Play all the courses you’ve dreamed about. Sounds like a plan to me.

I’m mentioning these things because they apply to strengthening relationships and making a positive impact on social development, which is another purpose of a "club".

Having been in Asia for 26 years, I’ve seen a lot of people putting work and golf ahead of their family and, personally, I think it would be healthier for all concerned if they combined the two. Golf is a wonderful past time, but it shouldn’t be enjoyed by one person at the expense of others.

In Asia, there are many "golf courses", but very few "country clubs" and there’s a world of difference between them.

For example, I grew up playing golf because everyone in my family played and we’d spend the weekend at "the club". Even if you didn’t play golf, you could play tennis or go swimming and then meet up later in the dining room. It brought the family together and provided a common bond. We all looked forward to the weekends.

Unfortunately, here in Vietnam, you don’t see many families coming out on weekends, nor do you see the kids at summertime. Usually, the father plays a fast 18-holes on the weekends, then drives like hell back to the city to do "the family thing".

It seems to me it would be far better to have the entire family at the club so everyone can enjoy the day together without stress of racing back and forth. The biggest investment a person can make is in their family. Without them, there is no future.

From experience, I can tell you that walking down a fairway with the family is one of the best ways to spend "quality time" with your kids, as well as giving them the thrill of trying to beat your brains out.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I promised to read "The Little Engine That Could" to my daughter.

I think I can, I think I can. Whooo woooooooo!


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