Just finished an epic game of Monopoly Jr. with my youngest offspring. Epic because, unlike most often happens when we play a board game, neither one of us ended up so frustrated we wanted to quit. I've never been one to let my kids win easily, wanting instead for them to strive to win on their own merit. Yep, I'm one of those moms, always a lesson in everything.
Today's game was no different, but the lesson was for both of us.
As we both accrued properties and set up ticket booths (Jr. version, remember?) strategic buying placed me in the lead as my daughter's money dwindled to nothing. Then I landed on Uncle Pennybags, the equivalent of Free Parking, and got to pocket the pile of loot from taxes and fees. Looking at my own money laid out in pristine piles of colorful ones, twos, threes, fours and fives, I realized that I had more than enough and could afford to be generous. So I gave my winnings to my favorite charity - the little person sitting directly across from me. It felt good, and the smile on her face was so bright, that on her next turn, when she landed on my Helicopter Ride and still didn't have enough for a ticket (I owned both properties of the same color, so the fee had doubled), I decided that it was half-price day. And on her next turn, the Loop-the-Loop ride was closed for repairs, so of course I couldn't charge her. And so it went for several turns; Merry-go-round, Bumper Cars - all of it out of order until she'd built up her bank account and repurchased a few properties. There were contingencies: she wasn't allowed to pout, or to always expect it (I seemed to have a run of landing on Uncle Pennybags!), and when she could afford to, she had to be generous in turn. And she was.
Why did I give her a handout? I didn't, I explained, it was a hand up. I had so much; why accumulate more just to hoard it? Isn't treasure more spectacular when shared? Giving from my excess didn't impoverish me, it made me feel richer.
We had fun, playing until we got too toasty by the fire, and finally called it a draw, equally prosperous. It was a good reminder that life isn't always fair, but it's so much more enjoyable when we help one another.