Don’t Make it Easy

Over Christmas 2019 I brought a board that could be used for both checkers, and chess. The goal was to use those games as a way of challenging the young people of Barrouallie to think critically and carefully.

Of course to do this…I had to play to win

Usually I don’t care about who wins when playing games (particularly with children) since it’s just about having fun together. But the goal of those particular games was to practice strategy (thinking a few moves ahead) so I purposely crushed almost every single child I played.

Some people think this may be mean…..

but it was actually helpful because they were challenged to get better.

One young man became increasingly frustrated by my beating him so easily. So he devoted himself to getting better at checkers (we didn’t play chess much because the rules are hard to follow sometimes). He would play it on his phone and tablet, then sat down with his father, and practiced over the Christmas holidays.

By the time we started playing again in January he was able to beat me. Even when I tried to win!

This experience reminded me children in their hearts (especially boys) want to be challenged. They long for someone who will make things hard, and then help them achieve it. This helps them face future challenges with confidence instead of fear.

Eventually many children in Barrouallie got good enough to beat me in checkers and thats okay. Because I didn’t crush them for my own benefit. I did it so they could become stronger.

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