Candyland Lessons

Her fingers wrapped themselves around her tiny Cinderella game piece as she counted out three spaces to get to her red square. Satisfied with her move she turned to me, “your turn to get a card mommy.”

Candyland had been a steady in our routine since she opened it and fell in love with the princess game pieces.

I took my turn, crossing my fingers and hoping I didn’t pass her. All of me wanted her to win just so I could see her jump for joy and fill with happiness.

I pulled my card and saw that I had drawn Ariel’s lobster, Sebastian, and he was sending me almost back to the start. I was thrilled. Now she would win for sure!

I loved to see her small face full of life when she crossed the end of the game and knew that she was the winner. I was filled with happiness to see that she was the one to beat, the one who had come out on top, the winner!

How wonderful that she would do it during this game.

Seeing my game piece sent back my daughter stood.

She crossed her arms in front of her chest.

“I’m not playing anymore!”

I looked at her, confused. Maybe she thought I had jumped ahead. I explained to her that I was now back to the beginning and she was winning.

“I don’t want to win.” She said, curling her arms in tighter around her chest. “I want you to win.”

She climbed on my back and put her hands in my hair.

My heart swelled.

My pride kicked me in the face and I was suddenly met with the realization that although I wanted my daughter to win all of the time, she didn’t. She also didn’t need to. She wanted to see others win and relish in their happiness.

She was happy just playing.

With a smile on my face and my ego in check we continued our game, cheering for one another the way that we should be, encouraging each other to win, and playing our game full of fun!

We talked about playing because we wanted to and not because we wanted to win.

I used it as a platform for conversation about playing for fun, not to win.

I used it to teach myself a lesson.

One that I will be learning for years to come. She won’t always win but she will have fun trying and even if she doesn’t win, that look of happiness, fun, and fulfillment will be there because we’ve taught her to enjoy the game, not the end result.

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3 Responses to Candyland Lessons
  1. Tara
    January 2, 2014 | 3:02 pm

    Seriously – impressive. My girls want to win so bad that they cheat and rig the game. It’s not easy to teach them to win and lose well. 🙂

  2. sarah reinhart
    January 3, 2014 | 12:25 pm

    Sooo sweet. It’s pretty much the opposite around here. Games are cut-throat. Sometimes the boys have to walk away or else I’m afraid someone will get hurt! Very heart-warming to hear she wanted to you win. xx.

  3. Kimberly
    January 10, 2014 | 1:02 pm

    We are a very competitive family. We put on boxing gloves and stretch before we crack the box open and toss the game pieces on the board. Shawn loves winning because he’s a jerk.
    I do allow him to win sometimes because I don’t want to deal with his pouting. Such a baby.
    I love Scar.

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