Yesterday, my young son asked me to play monopoly with him. The afternoon was open, and I thought it would be fun, so we pulled the box from the closet. My son is old enough to play the game, but doesn’t have the experience to create a winning strategy yet. He simply knows that if he buys Park Place and Boardwalk, and then piles them high with hotels, he’ll have a huge windfall every now and again. With that, we began rolling the dice.
My entire strategy for the game was to just hang out with my son. That was it. Each time I gathered up a little money I’d spend it on whichever square I happened to land on. I had a mixed bag of colors and industries, with no investing philosophy whatsoever. I was just spending money so that when I landed on his properties, he could win the game. He kept hoarding his money, waiting for the time when he’d land on Boardwalk or Park Place so he could make a purchase. Finally, after about 20 minutes he had his first property in hand.
We both kept passing “Go”, and he kept saving while I kept spending. Finally he owned both properties and a hotel… and I owned 90% of the rest of the board. I was really trying to lose, or at least give him a huge advantage, but since I owned so much, he kept getting nickeled and dimed every time his little piece moved into a new square.
He ended up needing to sell his hotel to pay one of his debts, and soon after that I landed on his square with minimal damage. I could see him fighting back tears. He’d been waiting to empty my bank account, but having sold his hotel to raise cash, it only cost me a couple hundred fake bills.
A few rounds later he had his red hotel back with a menacing smile on his face, and a few rounds later, it was sold again. We repeated this three times, finally to the point where he had to mortgage Park Place, and then a few rounds later, Boardwalk. He was trying to be tough, but tears were streaming down both cheeks.
In the end, he handed me all his money, and with nothing else for him to mortgage I asked “do you know what that means?”. He sniffed, wiped his arm across his face and said “you win”.
He’s a good kid. He wasn’t being a sore loser or a baby, he didn’t kick the board or start blaming his loss on anyone or anything. He just took it like he’s been raised. It was tough to watch, and I was proud of his stoic presence.
I remembered being ticked off at this game about six months prior, and those same sick feelings were back as I watched my son being taught one of the most despicable lessons this world has ever devised. It’s been taught and believed for millennia “The only way for me to win is for you to lose”.
This is a sick, disgusting lie that I hope we can strip out of the minds of our people. I looked at him and said “can I teach you a lesson about what just happened here?”. He nodded, and my wife (who had just entered the room) smiled. Maybe she thinks I give too many lessons, I don’t know.
I said “buddy, what this game just taught you is that in order for me to win, you have to lose everything. Or, in order for you to win, you have to take everything from me. This just isn’t how it works in the real world”.
I went on to explain that in the real world I would have provided a piece of real estate and he could have put up the cash. Together we would have built a great hotel that could give families amazing experiences together. Or, we could have built a place to help people in need on one of our other properties. I taught him that working together always gets us further than taking dow the other guy to get ahead.
I did my best to explain that money is not finite, and what we call money is just as fake as the money we’d used in the game. As Robert Kiyosaki says “It is what we agree it is”. It’s not as though the rich people have taken from all the poor people to become rich. Instead, they have had an idea which they acted upon, creating millions of jobs around the world for people who are helping make the dream a reality. If anything, wealthy have helped create trillions of dollars worldwide for people who otherwise may not have been able to provide for their own basic needs.
I let him know there is enough space, enough money and enough resources in this world for everyone who wants to chase their dream.
I started picking up the pieces and randomly throwing them in the box. “I can’t have this game in my house” I said “it teaches an incorrect principle and I don’t want you guys thinking this is how things really work”. My wife reminded me that it was just a game, and then asked if I was hangry. Lol, she’s the best.
Character is often developed on the field, or the court. Team players are often found in the huddle. Plays are developed and strategies executed as the the whole plans and executes as one. Games are so valuable because they are one of the vital ways we learn. As a side note, this is why parents should behave themselves at games, and why the game itself should never become more important than any individual.
I picked up the box of pieces and walked over to the garbage can. “What are you doing?” said my wife “I’m throwing it away” I said with a smile. “We have a lot to teach these kids, and this game teaches wrong principles which will hurt them in the long run”.
I never want to see that look on my son’s face again. I’m sure I will, but never at my hands. I will never win at the expense of anyone, but I will win by making sure the other person wins as well. It’s about thinking, building and working together. It’s about bringing what we each have and making it into something so much more. It’s about one plus one equalling three, ten, or ten million.
If you believe the lie that someone else is “ahead” because they took from you, take a good hard look inside. Perhaps that excuse is more to blame than the actions others. Sure, jerks exist. But jerks rarely make it to the top because they earn a reputation, and then nobody wants to do deals with them.
The top echelon is about honesty, character, doing good and looking out for others along the way. I’ve read the biographies of way too many great people to believe otherwise. Sure, if you want to make it to the middle, you can probably lie, cheat and steal your way to a certain level of wealth. But the highest levels are reserved for a whole different kind of human being than we’ve been brainwashed to believe.
Who’s doing the brainwashing? Why? Those would be some great questions to ask, if you feel this idea is true.