If you are like me, the suggestion of playing Monopoly makes your skin crawl and your head hurt. Memories of injustice and frustration send you running from the table. Maybe your game induced trauma is not as severe, you can still play Uno without distress and love your siblings even when they knock on the first round of 31. This is not my case. Games with family members, especially board games, bring on a desire to leave or at least for an adult libation.
Now I am a parent whose children receive fun gifts from friends and family for life occasions. We received a gift recently that caused me to revisit my feelings on family games: Monopoly, Pokémon Monopoly. The children were quite excited as Pokémon has made resurgence culturally and they are obsessed with these weird little characters at the moment. I placed the game on a shelf and moved on with my days.
Cut to a quiet evening with the kiddos relaxing after dinner, and a suggestion, “lets play that new board game,” from my oldest. Deep breath, and a smile, “Sure.” We set up the board, handed out the money, chose characters, and organized the properties… and then ...
WE HAD SO MUCH FUN!
Yes, it was a ton of explanation and so much coaching, but I actually enjoyed it. We laughed about the crazy names of the characters, made fun deals to try to get our monopolies, and decided to end the game in a draw when we were all too tired to continue.
This was huge for me, and for my children. They were so tired from playing it we had a quiet transition to bedtime and they were asleep only a few pages into our bedtime reading. Maybe there is a reason our parents made us play these games, they engaged our minds and helped us resolve conflict and wind down our day. (Perk # 1 Sleep)
The next couple days were filled with Monopoly, several games a day, and different participants with each round. Even our little one jumped in for a few turns, and purchased some property. I watched as they read the cards, honed their math skills, and problem solved in an effort to improve their position in the game. (Perk #2 Sustained Interest)
The best part?
I watched as they found their own definitions of success: owning the most things, having the most money, staying out of jail, finally getting a monopoly, collecting rents, the goals changed with each trip around the board. Sometimes they were cooperating to destroy me and other times they were mortal enemies vying for the same property. Each game ended the same way, in a decision that we were done with that round and would start anew later. No one was crying, tables remained upright, and pieces were each returned to the box neatly. (Perks # 3-5 Setting Goals, Cooperation, Friendly Competition)
I guess the point is, Monopoly is not evil; it is actually quite amazing. I recommend taking a chance on it, especially if you have school age children around who need something to keep them occupied. Challenge them to be the banker, to keep track of the properties, or be the designated card reader. The multiple parts of the game keep it moving quickly and your kids working to keep up and reach their goal. I am definitely not advocating for all games, ahem, Uno, ahem, but Monopoly, sure. (Perk #6 Family Fun)
I am a highly opinionated and sassy mother of three and wife to one. I hope you enjoy reading about my efforts to tackle the infuriating obstacles of life using straight talk and humor. If I say it, I mean it, or maybe I am being sarcastic. I like to focus on topics from my everyday life: parenting, cooking, crocheting, and a whole list of other things that inspire my rage.