Monopoly

mo·nop·o·ly [ mə nóppəlee ]
  1. control of market supply: a situation in which one company controls an industry or is the only provider of a product or service
  2. personal and exclusive possession: an exclusive right to have or do something
  3. corporation with exclusive control: a company with a commercial monopoly

A lot, I mean seriously a lot, of Monopoly has been played in my house this past week. I’m not sure what made the game so popular with my children but for the last several days that is all they have both wanted to play. We played Monopoly for most of Thanksgiving day and when I returned home this afternoon I found my husband playing Monopoly with our son and our son’s friend. When I walked into the house a little over an hour ago, I thought for sure the game was going to be over within 10 minutes and that my husband would be the winner. The boys are playing together, so they are a team against my husband. Well, a little over an hour later, they are all still playing. The game has had some ups and downs and some serious turns of events. It’s been entertaining to watch them play. There is so much excitement, frustration and anticipation. And now, I think the boys will end up the winner.

Through playing Monopoly and watching people play Monopoly over the week, I have come to realize there are some fantastic learning opportunities in this game. Learnings that really could help us get through life.

At the beginning of each game there is a level of excitement, the anticipation of playing is there and it’s almost like we forget that we have just committed a huge chunk of time to complete a game. I also think at the beginning you aren’t really thinking about winning or loosing because in some aspects the time to determine who the “winner” will be is so far away. Like so many other things in life, at the beginning, excitement is high and the long journey ahead is almost irrelevant.

As you play, there is a great deal of luck at first. What number you roll and the space you end up on is all luck. You happen to roll the right number at the right time and before you know it you own a ton of properties and if luck is really on your side you missed landing on other people’s properties. With the level of luck there comes a level of strategy needed. Do you buy all the properties you can and run low on money or do you save some money and give up the purchase of properties. I think the need of strategy increases as the game continues and although the element of luck never really stops being needed. Strategy becomes important when it comes times to buying houses and hotels and I think common sense starts to come into play too. It only makes sense to build up your houses and hotels if you have the means of survival to make it around the board yourself or if you are really strategic you build up your properties right as someone is about to land on your space you’ll then have the means to make it around the board. For almost the entire game you are focused on the present with only a little thought about the future. You can’t get caught up too much in the future because the present forces you to pay attention to it as so much can change between turns of the players.

It seems by the middle of the game, spirits are typically high and the competition level is manageable. Although in a flash this can and does change, it seems shortly around the middle of the game one person, or a couple people, start to look like they are coming out ahead and others start trailing behind. If you aren’t careful, the ones who are coming out ahead can become too arrogant and others playing will start to realize the game isn’t as fun as they hoped and the long game seems like it is never going to end. Emotions change. Some love the game, others hate the game. The divide starts to happen between the rich and the poor. No one ever wants to be poor. Everyone wants to be rich and on top of the world. So if the divide happens and stays, I think the game will almost always end poorly.

Yet, I love this game because those who are on top of the world can quickly loose everything. This is what happened when I walked into the house this afternoon. I thought for sure my husband was going to win; on Thanksgiving it was my daughter who was in position to win. But with a little luck and maybe some strategy, the game shifts and the winners are now losers so they learn to be humble. Humility is always a good characteristic to have. When the shift in power takes place the long game seems manageable again and spirits from all seem to rise. It is another tipping point in the game, power needs to shift for the game to continue happily.

From the power shift point in the game, I truly think the game can go on for hours with everyone having a good time. A good time provided we all remember these important things:

  • Everyone gets a little luck now and then.
  • Strategy is important, yet sometimes timing is everything.
  • Be humble at any given time you can win just as easily as you can loose.
  • Sometimes there are power shifts, even if you don’t want them.
  • It’s not about who is rich and who is poor, if too many of either happens the game ends.
  • Negotiation, team work, patience, creativity and humor are all important characteristics.

Maybe life would be easier if we all stopped and played a game of Monopoly. You know you have the game stacked in a closet in the hallway. Go grab it and play a game. It’s Saturday … stop whatever you’re doing and play. I think you’ll have a good time and take away a few really, really good life lessons that we all know yet often we forget.

 

 

 

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