That is exactly what happened over Spring Break. Actually it happened several times in different forms, but the time that especially touched my heart was when my oldest child living at home invited the rest of the kids to play a game of Risk that lasted several days. The first couple of days they were playing so well together and so cute in their pursuit of world domination! They laughed and cheered, and even groaned when they lost a battle.
By the third day, one on the kiddos was lured away by the next door neighbors. Later on in the day one kiddo was definitely on the way to world domination. The remaining players had moments where the game wasn’t as fun as it was originally, so they ganged up on the dominator. Then the dominator felt picked on and became even more competitive. I decided to be Switzerland and visit them with some Oreo Truffles we had been working on at the time. (Doesn’t Switzerland stand for peace and chocolate?) The break from the competition (and savoring chocolate) seemed to help reset the tone of the game. When they resumed playing, it sounded more like playing, instead of battling.
I was glad I wasn’t playing, not because I don’t enjoy the game (I’ve actually never played), but it’s one thing to feel picked on by your sibling –even if it’s part of the game- but quite another thing to feel picked on by your mom. Monopoly Jr. is about as ruthless as I can handle getting in a game with my kids. However, there is a lot of value in the kids playing competitive games with each other or their friends. It’s important to learn how to win and lose gracefully. It’s important to learn how to deal with people who have different levels of competitive spirit. And it’s important to learn a game is just a game, not necessarily a sign of popularity. I’m glad my children can learn these lessons in the comfort – and safety – of our own home!