I'm a game changer. Not in the cliche way that the phrase "game changer" is used in the office, but in the literal sense. By and large, I’m a rule follower. I view the speed limit as a limit so I am more than comfortable driving 60 in a 65. If my office hours are 8-5, I hyperventilate if I’m not in by 7:55. And when it comes to games, I’m a stickler for the rules. Rules in a game set the boundaries and ensure fairness among the players so I like to make sure the rules are established before anyone starts the game.
But sometimes rules are no good and must be thrown out for the sake of humanity. Such was the case when my husband and I purchased the game of LIFE to play with Lexi. I remember how much I enjoyed the game as a child and couldn’t wait to share the experience with our daughter. But now that I have lived more of life, I find the game mildly disturbing.
First, the objective of the game is to accumulate as much wealth as possible to win the game. It’s the same objective as Monopoly and other board games, but I’m not okay with that message. Throughout the game of life, you’re asked to make decisions that impact your finances. Landing on the space that allows you to “sue another player for $100K” seems innocent enough, but it’s a horrible lesson to teach a child. My husband resolved that by making that choice obsolete. No longer do we sue each other. Instead we resolve whatever the matter is, shake hands and move on with our lives.
Second, you’re asked to make choices about the career you want. You have choices to become a doctor or a teacher, but the teacher salary is much lower, and your status in the game of Life is dramatically different depending on your career choice. As a six year old, Lexi makes her career choices based on what she enjoys and has selected the “Teacher” path over the “Lawyer” path many a times. As is true in life, a player can lose his or her job in the game. When that happens, other players normally rejoice at their “good fortune,” but we changed the rules and express sorrow over the job loss and assist with the other player’s bills if they aren’t able to pay.
Third, the game has a lot of penalties based on the size of your family. I remember how excited I used to get when I landed on the “You have twins” space, but now that I’m reading the board, the addition of children seems like a burden versus a blessing. At the end of the game, you do receive a dollar amount per child, but I don’t want Lexi to think the blessing and burdens of having children are all about money.
I also know that the game of LIFE is warping Lexi because she just suggested we “hire a maid for $65,000.”
Instead of playing life, we need to just live it, teach it and let Lexi experience it from her perspective. Otherwise, we set unnecessary boundaries on our children, and that’s not fair at all.
Maybe we should just stick to the good old games that aren’t warped like “Family Feud,” “Old Maid,” or “Battleship.”
Okay…apparently, all kids’ games are warped. Just stick to reading…