Yesterday Little Man set up Monopoly, begging everyone in the family to join him. It is a game that I loved as a child. As a parent, I tolerate it. Crazy how things change like that. But, I knew it was important to my young son.
Even though it wasn’t always pretty, I was thankful that I grasped the moment. As we played I recognized the multiple learning opportunities provided in a simple game of Monopoly.
Each game brings unique learning opportunities. Here are a few that I noticed from Monopoly.
Counting Back Money: It’s a basic learning skill that all need to learn. Monopoly is a great opportunity to practice this.
Pay Attention: Is it my turn? This is a question that greatly frustrates me when playing a game. We show respect to other people when we pay attention to the events of the game.
Kindness: On several turns, I waited for Little Man to hand me the dice. We discussed how something as simple as giving the dice to the next person shows kindness.
Don’t Steal: Taking money or making change in another person’s account is stealing.
Patience: For my strong math kiddos, it can be difficult to wait for a sibling to figure change. We practiced sitting patiently.
Budgeting: Do you purchase? Do you not? Monopoly is a great opportunity to learn that when money is gone, there are no other options.
Storms will Come: In the first few rounds, Peanut was hit with taxes three times. Landing on several properties drained my account. Multiple times I was sent to jail. All examples of Monopoly woes. But in reality, life will send us many storms. Playing Monopoly teaches us to pick ourselves up, do what we can, and move on.
Sportsmanship: Little Man finished rich. Peanut landed in the middle. I ended only one emergency away from living on the streets. In humility, Peanut and I had to congratulate the winner. In humility, Little Man had to thank us for playing.
See the learning opportunities in Candy Land.
I grin every time that I see a commercial or photo of a family playing a game. The family is excited to be playing together and you can hear the roar of silent laughter and the joy felt by all.
This is not reality.
The dream of a perfect family and the images that cloud my mind lead me into a game with unrealistic expectations. This sets us all up for failure.
Games with children almost always result in poor choices, redirection, and even tears. It is easy to be frustrated and disappointed in the experience.
But if we recognize a game with our children or grandchildren as a teachable moment, given to us by God, we will grasp each learning opportunity. We will see a game for what it is and not be frustrated for what it is not.
Grasp the Opportunity
Our family has been playing games for over 10 years. For many years it wasn’t pretty and often ended with one child needing some discipline. But because we grasped the life-learning opportunities when our kiddos were young, we now enjoy the moments we are given to play games together.
The next time your child asks you to play a game, instead of immediately saying no, take the opportunity to play. Grasp the teachable moment and enjoy the time with your kiddos.
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