Change the rules, not necessarily the game

In the car on the way to school this morning, I was explaining to my four-year-old daughter the importance of not excluding your friends from the games you’re playing.

“If you do this,” I told her, “you risk hurting their feelings.” Like she had done the night before when she chose to sneak off with her boyfriend in the aisles of the library (don’t get me started) and utterly ignore her cute little French friend that had tagged along.

“Say you’re playing a game for two people and a third friend shows up. What do you do?” I asked.

“Play a different game,” she said.

“That’s right, and sometimes you can still play the same game, but change the rules of the game to allow more people to play – so that everyone feels included.” (The veiled lesson in social responsibility was working like a charm!)

She seemed to understand. But then she started to crunch the numbers.

“So, if 15 people show up, we have to change the rules 15 times?”

“No,” I said, “you change the rules one time, making it a 15-player game. Now, give me an example of a 15-player game.”

“Hide and seek?” she answered.

“Great idea.” I said.

“What about zero players?” she asked.

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a zero-player game,” I cautioned.

“Yes there is,” she said confidently.

“Give me an example of a zero-player game,” I demanded.



3 responses to “Change the rules, not necessarily the game

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