Like many other people, we received a lot of board games over the past few weeks. Family game night is a time to be together. But in our case, it often ended with sad faces because no one likes to lose.
Winning is fun! Everyone loves the thrill of being a winner. Whether it is getting a good grade, a winning hit, or any accomplishment in life that you value. The winning feeling releases endorphins that lead to a positive feeling throughout your body. As we praise our children for their efforts, we reinforce the idea that winning is fun.
Losing is a skill. It takes grace. Being defeated in any format builds character. It teaches each of us that there are some things we need to practice and work at. Failing builds character. It teaches us lessons and makes us a little bit stronger. And this is why board games are an important part of a family. The pieces that move around the board prepares our children for some of life’s bigger disappointments.
Did you know that Monopoly is licensed in 103 countries in 37 languages? I think that is an impressive factoid that speaks to the idea of the value of games. People around the world sit down together with family and friends to engage in a spirited series of moves which end with winners and losers. In fact, games date back to 3100 B.C.-Pretty cool!
We have cabinets full of games from Candyland to Zingo, Pick up sticks to Sorry, and up until recently the ending was not always pleasant. The dialogue was always the same though-“It’s not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Playing games as a family gave me the opportunity in a controlled environment to teach my children about how to lose gracefully. It helped me spend time with them while weaving lessons into the fun.
The other night my family played Sorry by the fire while sipping cocoa. It was a wonderful memory that was created over our holiday break. But amidst the charm of the game was smack talk. Imagine my horror when my charming daughter made a face while saying “Whant whant waaa.” And my son smiled with glee while he chanted “Better luck next time.” But by God they were getting it. It was another aha moment in my life as a parent. We were playing a game, we were having fun, someone was losing and everyone continued to play the game until the end. So as I lost the game of Sorry, I did the happy dance because game playing took a new turn in our house.
It’s Sunday, put down the screen, grab a game, and spend some time with your children teaching them the value of board games!