For Christmas we got Ethan the game Chutes and Ladders. It was only when we broke the box out today that I remembered the whole concept of the game.
You spin the wheel. Sometimes you get lucky and end up at the bottom of a big ladder and sometimes you end up at the top of a long slide. I had forgotten how this game makes you feel. In case you had forgotten, it makes you feel lousy when you are playing with Mr. Lucky (Dad) and you are the kid that seems to continuously ending up at the top of that slide. Ethan and I watched as Derek made it to spot 89 while I hovered in the 50's and Ethan couldn't seem to make it past 30.
I'll admit it. I had an urge to cheat. When my spin came, I silently prayed that I would spin a 4 so I would drop below my son. His father did cheat. He rolled a 6, did a complicated counting maneuver and landed on the long slide down to the bottom.
D: See, Ethan. Sometimes you get lucky and go up a ladder and sometimes you have to go down a slide. The important thing is being a good sport.
He wasn't having any part of being the good sport. It wasn't fair and he wasn't even sure he knew why it wasn't fair. He was just annoyed at his bad luck.
We tried to hang in until the bitter end but we didn't quite make it. I know we have this whole movement now that says that all kids are winners and everyone is the same, but that isn't really true. There will always be someone who is faster than you or smarter than you or more winsome than you. You should learn how to be a good sport and be supportive of others when they are doing better than you. It's just a life lesson I'm not sure is easily taught to a three-year-old. Oh, heck. It's not going to get any easier as he gets older, is it? So I think for now we'll just put the game away. Maybe we need to find a game that is based on skill rather than luck. It seems slightly more honest. I just don't know.