A Checkered Win

May 24th, 2011

I didn’t mean to. It just happened.
We played hard, we played fair, but in the end I just couldn’t lose.
Perhaps it was my impatience; perhaps it was her tiredness, but whatever the reason.
I won, there were tears. And there ended the checker game.

A family ritual we enjoy the nights we’re not rushing out the door to various lessons and practices. The child chooses, the parent happily plays while assessing the emotional strength of the child in that particular moment. Upon assessment, parent wins or loses accordingly, laughter is shared, the stars shine a little brighter and we kiss goodnight the children we happily nurture through the highs and lows of a board game.

On this particular occasion I sensed it was best to lose. There is no rulebook about this, I just knew. Perhaps it was the earlier fight with sibling, or the huff over who got to be red that gave it away, but I like to call it a mother’s intuition.

I fought my ego as I missed genius moves on purpose. Her spirits rose with each jump, her smile broadened, and we were just about to have a hallmark moment until we counted kings and I was ahead by 1.
Oops.

It’s all such a fine balance. The teaching part, the reality part, the self esteem part, oh, and don’t forget the fun part. It may look like a simple board game to an outsider, but the intricacies are there. Should I point out this? Take away that? Guide, or just let her be? Teach the best way, or watch her learn from her mistakes.

Yes, she will win some, she will lose some. And no, I will not always be her opponent having her best interests in mind. But for now while we play checkers, jumping one another, and finding our way to the other side, my strategy is simple.
Enjoy the game.

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  1. Myriam says:

    Beautiful story which I can so relate to.  I play scrabble and other board games with my 11 yr. old daughter, and used to play with the other 3 when they were younger.  Lots of valuable lessons in these games!
    Thank you Meg.

  2. Robin Blair says:

    Dear Meg, What a nice blog – you are a beautiful writer.  How wonderful that you share this perspective.
    I am inviting you to my podcast on an Internet radio site: http://www.commongoodradio.org     music and support for kids and families with a bent toward faithful living, as we both care about parenting and loving our kids.  Perhaps you would like to interview sometime for the podcast?
    I am a Christian clergywoman who is also a musician, mother and media producer, supporting parents in the toughest greatest most important task there is – loving our kids into their lives.  We are listened to in over 60 countries.
    So if you have some time, check out the Faith Parenting podcast and webstream of music and talk (kids speaking) that brings hope and love into the conversation of our lives.  Thanks for your time.
    blessings,
    Robin Blair
    http://www.commongoodradio.org
    http://www.robinblair.com

  3. Meg says:

    Myriam, yes it’s amazing how a simple board game can have so many layers!

    Robin, I look forward to listening to your podcast and would love to be involved sometime. Sounds like we share a similar focus, on raising mindful children.

  4. Tim Suttle says:

    The game was Clue. In  the end it was Col. Mustard, with the Candlestick, in the Library. Mom figured it out first. I laughed. My Son cried big alligator tears. I told him losing is just a part of life. He said, “Yeah, the worst part.”

  5. Bill Lawton says:

    Such insight Meg. Written with your unique beautiful way.Love M

  6. aaah, yes.  Enjoy the Game.  Well said.

  7. Yes, to win or ‘lose’, just playing is great with all the hustle of life. Enjoyed a game of rummy with my
    18 yr old on his bday yesterday and realized the outcome doesn’t matter because the lauughter and
    joking far outweighs a victory. Great post.

  8. Shaista says:

    What a lovely post! and so many lessons to learn! Works both ways – parent and child both win some, lose some and learn some! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.