Monday, November 28, 2011

Playing Fair!

How do I get my five year old to be a sport? How do I convince him that winning is not everything? How do I teach him to play fair and cope with the disappointment of losing? Any board game that we embark on almost always ends prematurely as either Abhay can’t take a fall or I lose my temper over his immaturity! So Abhay prefers playing all his board games from Candy Land to Tumbling monkeys with his 94 year old great-granny!!! Why? Because it means he does not have to stick to the rules of the game and instead can bend his way to victory! So in a game of Snakes and Ladders, he can climb up the snake and make his nonagenarian opponent step down the ladder; or choose to act only on beneficial picture cards in Candy land, or make up non- existent words in a game of GNU! This is what happens when the oldest in the house plays with the youngest!! Desperately need same age playmates who are just as competitive and cantankerous  as my five year old!

So in an attempt to get him to understand the rules of fairplay, I read Charlie and Lola’s “I’ve won, No I’ve won, No I’ve Won” by Lauren Child. Like any other Charlie and Lola story, this one is narrated from the perspective of big brother Charlie.  Charlie says that his younger sister Lola always wants to win at everything, without any exception! Charlie tries to pick a game at which he thinks he is a better player, like a game of spoons, or a game of cards, or a game of snakes and ladders, but Lola always manages to declare herself a winner, either by cheating, or by her absurd logic, or by simply altering the rules of the game!!! She turns a deaf ear to Charlie’s big brotherly advice that “You don’t have to win all the time”! SO finally Charlie thinks of a game that his little sister Lola cannot possibly win -   a race around the bendy tree, then swing on two big swings and finally down on the big slide. When Lola hesitates as she has never been on the big slide, Charlie challenges her to it and the race begins. Charlie is way ahead of Lola and when it is obvious that Charlie is winning and nearing the finish line, it appears that his little sister needs help sliding down the giant slide! Being the big brother, he retraces his steps and gets his sister down the slide. As both of them reach the ground at the same time, Charlie speeds past Lola to reach the finish line and screams out “I won, I won” when he remembers his father’s advice that he must give Lola a chance as she is younger. As he checks on Lola, it turns out that she had a lot of fun, even though she didn’t win! When Charlie is surprised, it is Lola’s turn to counter him with “You don’t have to win all the time, Charlie”! So with regard to Abhay, did the message sink in? We’ll have to wait to see if I won this time!

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