Teaching acceptance on family game night

New Year’s Eve was last week and like many families, we have a few traditions of our own. Long before the kids came along, my husband and I stopped going out. We said no to crowds, overpriced rubber chicken and watered down champagne at midnight and turned New Year’s Eve into family game night. The rotation includes Trivial Pursuit, a DVR version of Name That Tune, Monopoly of course, and The Game of Life.

This year was a little different. The 7-year old decided he wanted to stay up until midnight – in prior years he got too tired and fell asleep hours before – which meant he was up to play The Game of Life with us. He was excited to be the banker and that was just fine with my very tired self.

We assembled the board, put the wheel together and snapped in all of those white houses. For the first time in our little family’s life we placed three cars on the starting line and jammed those pegs in the driver’s seat, one blue peg each for my husband and son, and a pink one for me. Is it me or are the pegs in the newer version way smaller than they used to be? One thing that hasn’t changed though is that wheel still sticks on most turns.

Something else that hasn’t changed in The Game of Life is after fewer than 10 spaces all the players have to stop to get married. Well, this time when it was my turn I parted with tradition and decided to place a pink peg in the passenger seat next to the pink peg that was already there. Why not? Last I checked, a woman can legally marry another woman in our country.


My husband glared at me in that what-are-you-doing and this-is-not-the-time-nor-the-place sort of way.

I think he was both right and wrong. He was right in that it definitely wasn’t the right time to have an outright discussion with our 7-year old about homosexuality or same sex marriage, among other topics. That day will come but on that night it was all about being together and celebrating the new year.

However, I do think it was the right time to introduce the concept of tolerance with my subtle peg gesture. I don’t think there is really a wrong time for that. I want him to know that it’s okay to have two blue pegs or two pink pegs up front. Who says the pegs have to be pink or blue though? Pairings of any color or orientation are welcome in our game of life. Also, who says he has to get married? If he wanted, he could have skipped over the stop sign and stayed single on his drive to Millionaire Estates.

Admittedly, this is a foreign concept to my son. In looking though his class directory I am pretty sure there are no same sex parents in his class although there are a few single parents. But that might not be true next year, or maybe the year after that. He needs to know now it’s okay because that day will come. Or maybe it won’t be one of his friend’s parents. In a few years, maybe it will be a friend from class, baseball or piano and I want him to be able to confidently support his friends.

Yes, now is the time to prepare him to accept the choices made by those around him in real life. And if that opportunity presents itself during a somewhat antiquated board game on family game night, so be it.

He didn’t talk about the fact that mommy’s car had, well two mommies. He was too busy counting all of this $100,000 bills from drawing the highest salary card among the three of us. Still, I do think he noticed and hopefully his silence indicated acceptance. The only comment he made about the pegs was when my husband landed on the space where he adopted twins. He told us if it was his turn he would have taken two blue pegs because girls are “icky”. I guess that phase is starting for him.

So much to look forward to, right?

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Tags: parenting

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