For those of you not fluent in Star Wars-ese, the title of this blog comes from the scene in Star Wars where R2D2 is beating Chewbacca at some kind of animated chess game. Chewie, not happy at being on the receiving end of a flogging by a small blue droid, flexes his muscles and growls, so C3PO suggests that R2 adopt a new strategy, and “let the wookiee win” .
In our ever-so geeky home, “letting the wookiee win” is code for letting kids win at games if they are getting disgruntled. Now some of you (let’s call you “the kind people”) will think that’s par for the course. Kiddies feelings are easily bruised, and why can’t they always win? It makes them feel good. Life is hard enough, let the kiddies have some fun.
Others will be shaking their head emphatically. (You get to be “the realistic people”.) Life isn’t fair. Letting kids win isn’t teaching them about the world; it’s just raising a generation of ungrateful little sods who don’t know how to lose.
Let me tell you how it works in our home. Young children are like wookiees. They look cuddly and warm, but they are really ferocious beasts. They’re all right when they’re on your team, but you don’t want to get them off-side. If it looks like they are losing it with losing, I let them win. I treasure my life and my sanity.
However once kids hit about five years of age, all bets are off. If the game involves skill then I will help them along the way. One-sided matches aren’t fun, so I’ll make a game of it by offering tips and advice. But I’ll still beat them. Games of chance? They’re on their own. Good natured ribbing is encouraged. (My 9 year old is always delighted when he gets to declare “mugs away” when playing cards.) Gloating winners and sore losers are not.
I’m treasuring these years when my age works in my favour. It won’t be long until it will work against me. One day the kids will be stronger , faster and possibly smarter. Then I plan on throwing a tantrum until they let the old wookiee win.
Are you kind or realistic? Do you always, sometimes or never let your kids win at games?