Tolerating Board Games arguments
We spent last week with my extended family. My brothers and I are scattered around the United States now, but every year we meet in our home town, Lakeside, Ohio.
We grew up as year around residents of this summer Chautauqua on Lake Erie, an experience that I visit frequently in my writer's notebook. These annual summer trips not only give inspiration to my personal writing, they also give my children a chance to live with their uncles, aunts, and cousins for a week.
This year, my boys and the uncles discovered the iPad Monopoly. They played a lot.
And the boys have been playing our Monopoly board games daily since they came home.
Today, we watched Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story on Netflix. (It's over 100 degrees outside, and we're kind of bored!) I was impressed by two things watching the movie. First, there are a lot of people who love Monopoly! Second, many people interviewed expressed how playing Monopoly as a child was their first experience entering an adult world where they learned communication skills, negotiating tactics and strategies important in everyday life.
I listened to the boys playing again tonight. Prior to watching the movie, I would have said my boys fight when they play Monopoly. They banter about rent and mortgages, buying and selling, houses and hotels. They complain at each other when turns take too long and also when someone rushes through a transaction. They raise a voice in protest of paying rent one second, gloat in collecting it the next.
As a mom, I've often squelched these interactions when they get heated. Usually from another room, I'll offer my counsel, "If you can't play nicely with one another, put the game away."
But tonight, I didn't say it. Instead, I sat down and really listened. The people in the movie were right. The boys were practicing negotiating. They were observing each other's body language and facial expressions, learning communications skills. They were trying on the adult role of landlord and discovering solutions to paying a mortgage when cash flow is low.
Mostly, like last week with their uncles, they were making memories. I wonder in twenty years if they'll sit at a family reunion and say, "Remember that summer we played endless Monopoly games, I really learned..."