Thrift stores are a treasure trove, especially for those things families outgrow like books, toys, sports equipment, and games.

Fun for Everyone

Fun for Everyone

I walked out of a local thrift store with Boggle Jr., Clue Jr., Sorry, and Chutes and Ladders, in addition to a new green splinter-less butterfly net, a hot commodity at my house.

You probably grew up playing Chutes and Ladders but this week was my first time. My whole crew sat around and played it together; I think my kids are at the perfect ages since they are five, seven and nine years old.A quick refresher on Chutes and Ladders; you spin the…spinner (is there another word for it?) and move your piece on the game board. The great twist to this game is the addition of chutes or slides, and ladders. If you land on a chute, it takes you back a bunch of spaces. If you land on a ladder, you get launched forward a bunch of spots.

They could have stopped there, but the game creators took it one more step. They incorporated drawings to indicate cause and effect. If you mow the lawn, you are rewarded with a trip to the circus. Pull the cat’s tail, slide down the chute to the picture of you with all sorts of Band Aids and the cat licking its paws. Do this, and that will happen.

I don’t think that every moment in a child’s day needs to have a moral lesson, but this game makes it SO easy. The next time we play I plan to use specific, real-life examples from my kids’ lives to illustrate the cause and effect lessons.

Wouldn’t it be great if it was as obvious for us adults?

Many times it seems like there aren’t the immediate consequences of childhood, positive and negative.

Pad the books, and you will probably get away with it for a while before anyone notices.

Stay late and help out your fellow workers, and it can take a superior a long time to pay any attention to your extra efforts.

The cause and effect is delayed.

I really believe the strength of character required to do the right thing makes it worth it because of the internal reward. However, it is important to weigh our motives, because even something that can sound like a good idea, if not done with the right motive, can be less than noble.

Allow me to give an example:

My sister and brother in law and my parents hit a rough patch about a year ago. They’ve been working to make things better, but there have been moments of tension. At one point my sister and my mother were both talking to me about the situation, from their respective points of view. This was a tricky position for me, as I usually tried to maintain the peace as much as I could.

That’s the background. So then when I learned there was a potentially volatile issue that was probably going to come to a head in the next month, I felt compelled to bring it up with my lovely sister. My excuse? That I wanted her to be aware of the opposing point of view (that of my parents) so she wouldn’t be caught off guard when they were upset.

The real reason?

Carcassonne meeples, or followers Català: Els ...

I wanted to talk to my sister about it so that when it blew up, I could say I had tried to do my part, had fulfilled my role as peacekeeper, to head off the impending storm. Upon further reflection, however, I came to a different conclusion.

Basically I was trying to cover my butt.

Luckily, there was no storm and things remain amiable. But sometimes the things we do that are good, are only good insofar as they don’t cause harm but the motive behind the action is sketchy. I don’t really enjoy examining my motives, but as I get a little older and my behavior is less obviously “bad” I find that the purpose behind my actions is important to consider.

Enough of all the heavy. Here’s a hilarious (and mostly clean) version of a  super fun song, to round out this post. Enjoy!