WIN, LOSE AND LEARN

Last Saturday's blog > OUR LAST-MINUTE SPRING BREAK/BROKE

It's family game night. 

This is not a weekly event. But we've dodged each other long enough - so it's family game night. 
Game of choice: CONNECT 4x4. It's just like Connect 4, but there's an extra grid and up to 4 people at a time can play. I don't mean to do an endorsement here, but kudos to Milton Bradley for the inclusive game that is simple, relatively short and requires players to pay attention (kinda). And yes, it's terribly nostalgic. Connect 4  is one of the games I used to play when I was a kid. 
If I haven't said it recently, I live with The 3 Testosterones, random everyday activities turn into competitions faster than you can open the refrigerator door. And faster than you can say "No, he just drank the last of the milk." things can go sour, very sour. So, our game nights can be few and far between. AND we've learned no aforementioned evening of activity can take place without going audible with the #1 Ground Rule: "No flipping out if you don't win." We've had many a fun time go down in flames because one of the younger HEs wasn't winning and lost his mind. 
FULL DISCLOSURE: I take my board games very seriously. I don't let children win. I share strategies etc., and make it clear there's a lesson to be had no matter what the individual outcome. And I'm fine if I don't win. But I'm not going to GIVE AWAY the game. Oh no, I don't believe in that. So kid, if you don't get the W at the end - congratulate - don't hate.
Rule stated and repeated by each player at the table. Cool. Game on. 
And over. Rather swiftly. 
Noah won 3 out of 4 matches. He actually bowed out of the 4th because he was "...tired of winning. I told you guys to pay attention - but you didn't want to do it because I'm the smallest. Now I've won 3 straight! One of you guys needs to win at least one, so I'll just watch."  *Wait, is this 9-year-old being kind or... jerky? Either way it's cool. Shine boy! No apologies necessary. If you work for yours, you can handle your results any way you like. It's your moment. Be humble but never modest.  
FOR THE RECORD: I think they triple-teamed me. I mean, who can pay attention when one testosterone keeps asking "Whose turn is it?" yet continues to go out of turn, another testosterone's toes are on the table and the other testosterone is checking out his armpits then trying to dig into my popcorn bowl?
But never mind my offended sensibilities, I love seeing the boys' figure out things. Strategy games provide an opportunity to work in small steps toward the big picture. You have to rely on what you see, what you think and be proactive, not just reactionary. Your ability to run, jump, catch etc.,  is not in question - this is your brain in action.  It's absolutely one of those life lessons that we try to clandestinely embed into our children 
Now they just gotta keep their musty digits away from my snack bowl... 
 

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