Games are a natural part of life. Think about it. Even in nature, pups, cubs and kittens play, practice and sharpen the skills they will use as adults. Littermates will tumble around, with fake growls and go in for a “kill” with a pretend bite to the neck. The puppy on his back, knows he’s lost the game.
Throughout history, there were games that displayed strength, stamina and skills in every culture. Today, those who can play games to display their strength, stamina and skill are given multi-million dollar contracts– and we pay big bucks to watch them.
However, though we don’t often think about it in these terms, games can be more to children than time wasters. They can be used, as a tool to sharpen thinking skills, and create a dry run for real life scenario, that we want to learn to avoid.
With today’s onslaught of video games, it can seem like the only skills that are being sharpened are hand-eye coordination and quick thumb reflexes. The old games of Shoots and Ladders and Sorry, seem pathetically obsolete. If you’ve read our last two installments of Politically Incorrect Parenting Gifts for Boys or Girls, you know that I take the business of child’s play seriously.
Video games can be an absolute waste of time and money. But there are a few that can instill life lessons at an early age that could never have been learned otherwise—without the luxury of age. But don’t discount the value of old fashioned board games.
The following list is not exhaustive by any means. It is intended only to direct your thinking away from commercial hype, cool trends and pop culture, and think about what your child is learning and practicing during play time.
Warning: The following advice, and recommendations contained therein, are politically incorrect—and may be a choking hazard for progressive parents of all ages.
My children loved to play Monopoly. As a mother I loved it because it kept them busy for hours on end. My two oldest, a boy and girl, as children were fierce competitors at Monopoly. My son became very good at it, my daughter not so much. When her son began learning to play she told him how good a player his Uncle Chris was. The seven year old then called his Uncle to tell him how good he was doing the conversation went something like this:
Zach: Hey Uncle Chris, I’m learning to play Monopoly.
Chris: Oh yeah. That’s great Zach. But you better watch your mom. She cheats.
Zach: Oh Uncle Chris, you’re so funny. That’s just another one of your stories.
Chris: Nope, your mom always cheated at Monopoly. Just ask her.
The young boy hung up, knowing this had to be another one of his Uncle’s tall tales, and told his mom what her brother said about her. She laughed and confessed that not only did she cheat, that she became a very proficient cheater. It took years for her brother to figure out her method.
Needless to say, poor Zach, couldn’t believe that HIS mother would ever cheat at anything—even as a child. His mom’s defense was that cheating was her only hope of winning– her opponent was way out of her league. She told her son he could learn a lot by playing with his uncle.
I personally know two different people that have each confided in me, that one-day they remembered being very good at Monopoly as children, and used the principles of the game in their adult life. Each has amassed wealth through real estate and credit at least their beginnings to their love of the game.
While many of you, especially in light of the current real estate crash may disagree with the wisdom behind Monopoly, you may find my next game more relevant for today. Where learning life lessons in money doesn’t always mean gaining wealth through acquiring real estate. What about just pursuing your dream?
Next up-practicing the pursuit of your life’s dream.