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The Game of Life

24 Sep

In my last post, I shared the events that took place during an evening when my kids and I played Monopoly. After reflecting more on the experience, I thought it was worth revisiting as there were certain subtleties going on that even I didn’t recognize until I thought more about it.

As I reflected back on the evening and thought more about the game, the way each child approached it and the eventual outcome, I realized that many of their personality traits were directly reflected by the way they played. It was incredible to see how their approach to the game was a direct reflection of how they approach life in general. As a father, it was a unique opportunity to gather specific insights into how their individual minds and personalities approach any given challenge.

For example; as the game started, my middle child was reluctant to purchase any properties. She instead wanted to save her money and create a sense of financial security. As the game progressed, she continued to show reluctance toward spending and investing, even as she began to see the advantages of owning properties and collecting money from people who landed on them.

My oldest child meanwhile, attacked the game with full force, buying everything she landed on. She then began initiating trades within the first three times around the board in an attempt to secure a monopoly. Upon garnering her first triad, she dove into purchasing homes and escalating the value of her properties, even at the expense of mortgaging other properties to make it happen.

In contrast, even after obtaining a monopoly, my middle child purchased one home at a time, sporadically, yet methodically; the entire time making sure her bank account was solid. When it came time to trade she was eager to work through such an experience with her older sister, who in turn was anxious to take advantage of her less experienced sibling. To be there to guide and protect was priceless.

Meanwhile my youngest landed in jail four times within the first twenty minutes, a reality that had me just a tad concerned.

So, it wasn’t just their approach to the game that intrigued me, it was their method of trading, resolving conflicts and handling of the stress that comes with a game of that nature that blew my mind. They each were completely immersed in every aspect of the game and were in many ways living it as if it were reality.

Watching them work through questions, issues, decisions about what properties to buy and which to pass on, when to buy a house, when to trade, how to trade, with whom to trade, etc. was like watching a dress rehearsal of life. It also presented numerous opportunities to discuss with them their thought process and offer up insights that even life in general doesn’t present you with.

On the surface it was just another game. But digging deeper, it was obvious that everyone involved walked away with much more than just a few hundred dollars in Monopoly money. To me that lone fact made it worth every penny of the $14.00 in real cash it cost to bring it home, pass GO and collect an amazing amount of parenting insights.

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