I was excited to be going to spend the night at my friend’s house. As an only child with two full time working parents, it was a privilege to spend time with other children.
The first few hours went along smoothly, until her younger brother got bored and decided that the most exciting thing to do, was to annoy his older sister. He raced into her bedroom where we were playing and grabbed her favourite porcelain doll, before running down the hallway with her close at his heals.
I was mesmerized, as I stood at the end of the hall, watching them as they fought over the doll. My smirk faded as my friend’s dad emerged in the hallway entrance. Someone was going to be in real big trouble.
“Okay, both of you, in the kitchen. NOW! Kylie you too.”
Me? What did I do wrong? I slumped after my friend and her brother, glancing at the doll, sprawled out on the hallway floor. I followed suit and sat at the kitchen table with the others, while my friend’s dad opened a nearby cupboard door. The other two children groaned.
“We weren’t fighting dad, it was just a game.” My friend grumbled. She stomped her feet under the table, as her father placed the Monopoly board on the table. I rubbed my hands together. I loved board games, so this was a nice treat. No yelling, spanking or time out, we got to play a game.
“You know the rules. No arguments.”
My friend grudgingly opened up the box and set up the game, casting an evil look at her brother.
Half way through the game Josh yelled out “You cheated, you took money from the bank.”
“I did not.”
Their dad waltzed over and put all the pieces back at the beginning. “Start again. No arguments.”
Josh lowered his head to the table. “I hate monopoly.”
I smiled. “Can I go first this time?” They both nodded solemnly.
We managed to finish the game without any arguments and when I asked to play again, I got a look of disgust from the other two. “We only play board games when we’re in trouble. Dad recons it stops us from fighting and teaches us to get along.”
What a wonderful idea. From then on, every time I went to stay at my friend’s house we would be forced to play Monopoly. I would intentionally cheat in order to cause arguments so that we could play again.
I don’t have children of my own, but whenever I look after other people’s children, I also use the same technique in order to resolve arguments. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong, everyone gets the ‘punishment’ of playing monopoly.
I often wonder if my friend, or her younger brother, ever realised that I was the one hiding their toys in order to start their arguments. Despite their hatred for the game, I still love playing monopoly.
I never could understand how someone could hate playing a board game. I guess I figured that the more we got to play games together, the more my friend and her little brother would learn to love them as I did.